Google updating Android to accommodate digital COVID-19 vaccine cards

Google on Wednesday, June 30, announced it would be updating its Passes API (application programming interface) to allow Android to support digital vaccination cards. 

The Passes API is most commonly used by businesses to build applications that help them manage ticketing, loyalty programs, and gift cards. With the update, healthcare agencies and organizations will be able to more easily create and manage digital versions of COVID-19 vaccination or test information.

The API seeks to enable a “simple and secure way to store and access COVID vaccination and test cards on Android devices,” Google wrote.

“Once a user stores the digital version of the COVID Card to their device, they will be able to access it via a shortcut on their device home screen, even when they are offline or in areas that have weak internet service.” 

The rollout will begin in the US, and will be available in other countries in the future. 

Google also assured that the COVID-19 information will be locally stored, and if the user wants the information on various devices, they would have to manually store it in each device. Google also promised it does not retain a copy of the vaccination and test information, nor is the data shared to third parties or used for targeted ads. 

An active lock screen is required for the use of the COVID card to prevent other people from easily obtaining information from a phone. 

Healthcare organizations and agencies can proceed to this page to sign up to express interest for the use of the updated API. –

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.