Why it matters: Google is allowing Android users to store and display Covid-19 vaccine cards and test information on its passes system, used for non-payment cards, starting with select providers in the United States. The company writes that developers from healthcare organizations, government agencies and organizations authorized by public health authorities to distribute Covid vaccines and tests will have access to Google Pay's Passes API to create a digital version of the documents.
The digital Covid-19 vaccination card shows the recipient's name and date of birth, which vaccine they received, and the date of both doses. You can save the information on more than one device, and you don't need the Google Pay app to access the feature, which requires a device with Android 5 or later and be Play Protect certified.
Google writes that users can find their vaccine or test information by visiting their healthcare providers' website or app, or via a text or email. If they support the feature, a Save to Phone option should be present for saving it to Google Pay—even if you don't have the app. Google recommends adding a shortcut to your home screen to access the Covid card faster.
Google assures users that it will not store their data in the cloud, share it with third parties, or use it to target ads, but it will collect some information, including how many times they use the card and on which days.
As noted by The Verge, some states, such as New York and California, have their own version of the digital vaccine card, as do many countries—the UK's version is accessed through an NHS app. But Google could make the whole process easier for health authorities and the public.
Image credit: Studio Romantic