State launches Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card for Digital Vaccination Verification
The state will soon offer a new way to provide COVID-19 vaccination status as Honolulu and Maui Counties are set to begin a passport program, requiring such documentation before entering selected businesses and establishments.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Gov. David Ige along with Doug Murdock, chief information officer of Office of Enterprise Technology Services, unveiled the state’s Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card. The program is voluntary, “strictly a convenience” and begins Friday, Sept. 10.
The card will enable individuals who received their COVID-19 vaccinations in Hawaiʻi to create a state-issued digital Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card that may be used to confirm their vaccination status to businesses and venues that require it.
Individuals who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson and Johnson, followed by a 14-day waiting period, are eligible for the digital card. The Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card gives individuals a convenient option of presenting their vaccination status through a digital device rather than a physical CDC vaccination card or other documentation.
“We hope smart cards will keep the economy open while operating in a safe and healthy environment,” Murdock stated during the press conference.
As of now, Hawai’i County has no plans to implement a vaccine passport program similar to what’s been done in Honolulu and Maui Counties. However, county officials say they see the SMART card a “fantastic tool for businesses and entities looking to implement a ‘passport-like’ program.'”
“After hearing the concerns of many in our community who are both for and against the vaccine passport program, we have concluded that it is simply not right for our island at this time,” Hawaiʻi County officials stated to Big Island Now Wednesday. “Driving a greater divide between neighbors and ʻohana will only make reaching the ultimate goal of returning to a healthy, safe, and vibrant Hawaiʻi Island that much more challenging. Our goal moving forward is to do everything we can to unify our residents and remind them of their responsibilities to themselves and others, whether vaccinated or not.”
Ige and Murdock said SMART cards are becoming a national standard throughout the country with many states having some form of the program.
“SMART Health Cards are growing as a standard to show proof of vaccination across the nation. Hawaiʻi joins states such as New York, California and Louisiana, in implementing an application that allows people to share their vaccine status to businesses and venues in a safe and secure way,” Murdock stated in a press release following the conference.
Vaccination information provided by individuals obtaining the Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card will be automatically verified against the state vaccination database. Murdock said the digital verification should only take a few seconds to verify.
Entities not submitting vaccination data to the state’s database are the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, selected federal agencies (that have received the federal vaccine), and some pharmacies under the long-term care facility program (nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, etc.).
If the state’s database cannot verify vaccination data, individuals may present a physical document such as a CDC vaccination card or COVID-19 PCR test result, depending on what the jurisdiction will accept.
Additionally, the digital card will help eliminate fraudulent vaccine documentation.
“We know that not everyone will get verified but believe a high percentage will be right away,” Murdock said.
The SMART card is built into the state’s Safe Travels website. Click here for steps on how to upload the card. Once the vaccine card is validated, recipients will receive a QR code businesses can scan to confirm vaccination status.
There are plans to expand the service in the future to include digital access to negative test results.
The Hawaiʻi SMART Health Card QR code cannot be used for traveling to Hawaiʻi. Travelers arriving in Hawaiʻi are required to use the Travel Exemption/Exception feature on the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi Digital Platform to receive a travel entry QR code.