As we approach the end of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the narrative has shifted towards the numerous vaccines that are slowly becoming available. Several countries around the world as well as cities in the US have started injecting the population in the hopes of finally getting a hold of the spread of the coronavirus. With vaccinations, however, also comes the need to distinguish those who have taken it and those who haven’t, and Los Angeles county might have some high-tech help on that front.
Keeping track of vaccinations serves dual purposes. For LA, the primary concern has been to remind people to come back for their second dose. Contrary to popular notions, the COVID-19 vaccine has to be taken in two doses spread across a couple of weeks. There is a real concern that some people might presume they don’t need the second dose or actually forget when they should be taking it.
The county partnered with local startup Healthvana which specializes in delivering test results and reminders for treatment that often requires two or more doses. These were primarily intended for HIV and other STDs but has been expanded earlier this year to cover COVID-19 test results. Now the partnership will extend to COVID-19 vaccination reminders that will be stored on users’ smartphones, specifically on Apple Wallet or Google Pay.
It can also be used as a sort of “ticket” to gain access to locations and transit services like airlines. At the moment, there aren’t yet any hard requirements for such vaccination proof but it can come in handy when the time does come.
Of course, there will always be concerns about privacy, but Healthvana assures that user data is stored on HIPAA-compliant Amazon Web Services servers. Of course, there will also be paper cards given by the county to officially track vaccine doses but they won’t be that useful if you lose them.