Massachusetts’ digital vaccine passport leaves some residents frustrated: ‘Couldn’t find anything for me’

Massachusetts this week unveiled a new digital passport for the COVID vaccine intended to make it easier for residents to prove their immunization status – especially as indoors vaccine warrants take hold in the Commonwealth, including Boston and Brookline this weekend.

But dozens of Massachusetts residents hoping for an easy process to obtain their electronic immunization records encountered problems when they entered their information on a state government website. The most common show appeared to lack information on COVID booster injections.

The administration had warned of another problem people could expect: People vaccinated outside Massachusetts could not immediately trust the passport, which pulls health data from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System. To address the issue, residents should ask their health care provider to update their immunization record.

The “My Vax Records” tool comes with a QR code for the SMART Health Card platform, which is used in a dozen other states. It cost Massachusetts about $ 400,000 to develop and test the tool, MassLive previously reported.

About 370,000 vaccination cards were downloaded as of Wednesday afternoon, a Baker administration official told MassLive.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday urged people to be specific on the state’s website when entering their name, cell phone number and other basic contact information, lining them up with the details that individuals shared when receiving their vaccine doses. Any deviation, Baker said, could cause a problem in the “My Vax Records” tool.

For some residents, the vaccine passport seemed like an easy download on their smartphones or other devices.

“Worked very well! Karen A. Hayes told MassLive on Facebook.

“I had no problem at all,” said Debbie Beane. “It was easy and all the information was correct. I’m ready!!”

“All three presented themselves correctly,” said Mary Dunn.

“No problem,” Kim Element said, adding a smiley emoji.

Still, frustrated Massachusetts residents described a litany of other issues to MassLive as they tried to take advantage of the digital passport option.

Phil Rutledge, of Webster, told MassLive he received his first two shots at Harrington Hospital last April, followed by a booster in December at a local Walgreens. But when he entered his cell phone number and tried both of his email addresses in the state system on Tuesday morning, he received an error message: “Does not match our records.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Rutledge told MassLive he had made progress in updating his immunization record. On a separate webpage, Rutledge submitted a photo of his driver’s license and also entered the date and location of his COVID booster injection.

“This was acknowledged by automatic email,” Rutledge told MassLive, sharing confirmation of his request from the vaccination division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. “We’ll see what happens.”

Gina Fields was also unable to access her digital passport, she told MassLive on Tuesday afternoon.

“Hopefully everything will be resolved by Monday, but I’m sure it won’t,” Fields said in an email.

Scott Fitzgerald was partially successful in obtaining his digital passport. His electronic record, for now, only reflects his first two vaccines, not his recall. Yet Fitzgerald received all of his vaccine doses from the same drugstore chain, he told MassLive on Facebook.

Laurie Goldman Lewis reported no luck with the state system.

“He said he couldn’t find anything for me,” Lewis told MassLive on Facebook. “I am completely vaxxed and boosted. All the hits in MA.

Jessica Kish Kennedy, who got the shot at Gillette Stadium, was also deregistered using the state’s website.

“I filled everything out exactly as I originally submitted it,” Kennedy said. “I tried it using both my email and my cell phone, and it just said ‘no info’.”

However, Massachusetts’ new digital vaccination passport is only one option for individuals to prove that they are fully vaccinated. For the sake of simplicity, people can choose to carry their CDC card with them – or have a photo of it saved on their phone.

People can also use other vaccine identification platforms, such as the New York Excelsior Pass. This is what Michelle Margulies intends to download, since the state website cannot find her records.

“I guess I’ll stick with the NY app where you can upload a photo of your card,” Margulies told MassLive on Facebook.

To store the state vaccine passport, residents are encouraged to add the digital card to their Apple Health Wallet or take a screenshot. Betsy Robinson Bertuzzi struggled to take that step, even as Facebook users rushed to offer her advice.

“Easy to access, but impossible to download or move to my wallet and / or health app,” Bertuzzi told MassLive on Facebook. “I have an iPhone 10. But nowhere in the instructions does it say it’s only for certain phone models. I followed the instructions to “hold down until the health app button appears”, but it never does. “

Susan Hugus lamented that the digital tool could have worked better for Android users.

“I would love to have it in Google Pay or a separate app instead of putting it in Google Photos,” MassLive said on Facebook.

If you are unable to download the app, try updating your immunization record information here.

Still having problems with the new state vaccination passport? Send an email to akuznitz@masslive.com.

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