The Best COVID-19 Vaccine Apps
These apps will help you track side effects and share your vaccination status so you can board flights, go to concerts, and more
We don’t know exactly what life after the pandemic will be like. But here’s one thing that could be different: You may encounter checkpoints at medical facilities, airports, restaurants, theaters, sporting events, concerts, stores, and many other public spaces where you’ll need to prove you’ve been vaccinated before you can enter.
Right now, people who get the vaccine are given a vaccination record card they can carry with them. But there will also be mobile app alternatives: You’ll be able to pull up a screen on your phone, have it scanned, and be on your way. (Don’t own a smartphone? Organizations are working on creating a credit card–size device you can stash in your wallet. It would store your vaccination status and could quickly be scanned at places you visit, allowing you to enter.)
Here are three apps that will make post-vaccination life simpler and easier to navigate, while keeping your personal information secure. (Safeguard your paper verification as a backup.)
When you’ll use it: Right after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine
What it does: This app helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track side effects of the vaccines. After getting your shot, you can upload the info from your vaccination record card into the app — including which brand of vaccine you received. The app will ping you periodically with some quick questions about how you’re feeling; they’ll take just a few minutes to answer. It will also remind you when it’s time to get your second shot. In the unlikely event that you need to report an unusual side effect, a CDC representative may contact you to get details. All the information you provide to the CDC is kept confidential.
Where to get it: V-Safe is free and works on any type of smartphone. Register at https://vsafe.cdc.gov.
When you’ll use it: The next time you take an international flight
What it does: CommonPass was developed by the World Economic Forum and the Commons Project, a nonprofit public trust dedicated to improving people’s lives through technology. The idea is to ease the process of international air travel. So far, six carriers — United Airlines, Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic — are acting partners. You enter your vaccination info into the app, and it generates a QR code you can use to pass through immigration and airline checks. If you haven’t gotten the shot yet, CommonPass can direct you to a rapid-test facility at the airport — enabling last-minute travel, provided you test negative. Don’t be surprised if this app also becomes essential for domestic travel.
Where to get it: CommonPass will be available soon to download for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
IBM DIGITAL HEALTH PASS
When you’ll use it: To enter workplaces and public spots
What it does: Part of IBM’s Watson Works initiative to help people safely return to the workplace, this app lets organizations verify the vaccination status (or COVID test results) of their employees, customers and visitors. The app encrypts all your personal data and creates a QR code that buildings, stadiums, amusement parks or other public spots will scan as you enter. In the future, IBM envisions airlines and cruise lines using this app to allow passengers on board.
Where to get it: IBM Digital Health Pass will be available at work.com, but as of press time the company hadn’t confirmed a release date or pricing info.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time and posting. To limit the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important to continue practicing social distancing (keeping at least 6 feet away from people outside your household) and washing your hands frequently. You should also be appropriately masked any time you’ll be in public. According to the CDC’s latest guidance means layering a disposable surgical mask underneath a snug-fitting cloth mask or placing a mask fitter over your cloth mask to ensure a tight fit. Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, we encourage readers to follow the news and recommendations for their own communities by using the resources from the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department.