The wait for a proof-of-vaccination app in Oregon just got a little longer

Oregon’s long-awaited effort to roll out a digital evidence-of-vaccination app is delayed again and is now expected to debut in late April, about two months late, the Oregon Health Authority announced Thursday.

The $2.25 million effort was halted after ‘community partners raised concerns about the word ‘verify’ in the name [of the program], because they were concerned that it would stop people from using it,” according to Erica Heartquist, OHA spokesperson. Health officials have repeatedly stressed that the program is optional and voluntary.

“The tool is intended to provide everyone with access to a free electronic record of their vaccination, and while many health systems provide these records to their customers, not everyone in Oregon has a provider. health care,” says Heartquist.

As a result, the program will be renamed “My Electronic Immunization Record”. It’s intended to give Oregonians an alternative to pulling out a dog-eared COVID vaccination card or blurry phone photo, plus ID, when asked for proof of vaccination at a place like a restaurant. or a theatre.

Using the app will allow Oregonians who have been vaccinated in the state to access a QR (or quick response) code that links to their vaccination status.

Oregon has historically lagged neighboring states in its attempts to manage the pandemic with technology. First, the state scrapped plans for a digital exposure notification system after a lengthy testing process yielded mixed results, amid questions about how many people would actually choose to use the technology. . Additionally, New York, California, and Washington have all had digital vaccine verification apps in place for at least a few months now.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has entered a new stage, at least for now, which could dull public interest in such an app. COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their lowest point since July 2020 and the number of cases, although rising again, is still a fraction of its January 2022 peakand health experts say they expect natural immunity and vaccination to protect Oregon against some of the worst BA2 variants currently spreading around the world.

Oregon lifted its mask mandate for indoor public spaces in mid-March, and proof of vaccination requirements have also been lifted, particularly at major sites like the Moda Center, though verification continues to be required in some restaurants and to a broad coalition of performing arts companies. (Even some countries in Europe that had strict vaccination requirements in place for entering public spaces have started rolling them back in the past couple of months. While being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t get or transmit COVID, it provides excellent protection against severe forms of the disease and makes transmission less likely.)

The state is currently reviewing the app to make sure it works for users who need assistive technology; it will be available in English, Spanish, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean, Portuguese, Hmong, Somali, Marshallese, Chuukese and Arabic.

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