Boston plans to launch its own digital vaccine card app

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With a vaccine mandate for many indoor businesses taking effect in Boston on Saturday, city officials are also preparing to launch their own digital vaccine card app.Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s “B Together” plan requires customers and staff to show proof of vaccination in order to enter certain indoor spaces, including indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, fitness centers and entertainment. Many affected businesses already have the required signage hanging in their front windows. City officials say the forthcoming “B Together” app will allow individuals to store vaccination records for themselves and for children or family members. It is expected to launch in-app stores on Saturday with support for English, Spanish and simplified Chinese. Additional languages will follow. The app is modeled off of New York City’s “NYC COVID SAFE” app and was developed with help from Virginia-based Qlarion, officials said. Boston officials said the new app will only store data locally on the user’s device and will not track users’ locations or share data with other entities. On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a different digital vaccine card system that people who were vaccinated in Massachusetts may obtain and download to their smartphones. That tool is built on the SMART Health Card standard, which is already in use by several other states. The state’s system confirms an individual’s data against the Massachusetts Immunization Information System and generates a QR code that can be saved and later scanned with a verification app.Businesses and venues using the state’s system are encouraged to check the visitor’s scanned code against another form of identification. Boston officials say businesses are not being required to check the second form of identification. In addition to the digital vaccine cards, Boston instructed businesses to accept a physical card, a digital photo of a vaccine card or an image of another official immunization record.Brookline and Salem have both announced vaccination requirement policies similar to Boston’s. Baker has expressed his distaste for mandates but said he believes the digital cards are an important tool.

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With a vaccine mandate for many indoor businesses taking effect in Boston on Saturday, city officials are also preparing to launch their own digital vaccine card app.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s “B Together” plan requires customers and staff to show proof of vaccination in order to enter certain indoor spaces, including indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, fitness centers and entertainment.

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Many affected businesses already have the required signage hanging in their front windows.

City officials say the forthcoming “B Together” app will allow individuals to store vaccination records for themselves and for children or family members. It is expected to launch in-app stores on Saturday with support for English, Spanish and simplified Chinese. Additional languages will follow.

The app is modeled off of New York City’s “NYC COVID SAFE” app and was developed with help from Virginia-based Qlarion, officials said.

Boston officials said the new app will only store data locally on the user’s device and will not track users’ locations or share data with other entities.

On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a different digital vaccine card system that people who were vaccinated in Massachusetts may obtain and download to their smartphones. That tool is built on the SMART Health Card standard, which is already in use by several other states.

The state’s system confirms an individual’s data against the Massachusetts Immunization Information System and generates a QR code that can be saved and later scanned with a verification app.

Businesses and venues using the state’s system are encouraged to check the visitor’s scanned code against another form of identification.

Boston officials say businesses are not being required to check the second form of identification.

In addition to the digital vaccine cards, Boston instructed businesses to accept a physical card, a digital photo of a vaccine card or an image of another official immunization record.

Brookline and Salem have both announced vaccination requirement policies similar to Boston’s. Baker has expressed his distaste for mandates but said he believes the digital cards are an important tool.

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