The Best Ways to Show Proof of Vaccination

Let’s be honest: much like Social Security cards — those flimsy, extremely important, little blue rectangle pieces of paper that you can’t laminate — the Covid-19 vaccination cards are highly impractical to carry around. They’re not wallet-size or pocket-friendly, also can’t be laminated, and beg the question — in 2021, is this really the best we could come up with?

But if you want to live with any sense of normalcy in this abnormal era, having your vax info readily available is crucial. In New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans and a growing number of other cities, proof of vaccination — and proof of a booster shot — is required for a number of indoor activities. In San Francisco this includes being allowed to enter restaurants, gyms, bars and concert venues, i.e. the pillars of life. 

Carrying a physical card is good, but with the proliferation of fake vaccination cards, and for convenience, going digital is better. Here are six of the best ways to show proof of vaccination from your smartphone.

*Updated January 5, 2022

State-Issued Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record

Apple Wallet Vaccine Record-credit WIRED-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of WIRED

By entering a few key details, California and Hawaii residents, among others, are able to receive a digital copy of their Covid-19 vaccination record and a link to a QR code with that info — which now syncs with digital wallet applications (Apple Wallet, Google Pay) as well as Apple Health.

California portal:
Hawaii portal:


VaxYes by GoGetDoc, a San Mateo-based digital health company, allows you to add vaccine card information and have it transformed into a digital passport for free. These passes can then be added to wallets on Google Pay or Apple Wallet, and function much like an airline boarding pass. Additionally, as your card moves its way through the 4-level verification process, it can reach state-level record validation. Security wise, the data is encrypted and compliant with HIPAA, which governs how health care professionals must store and protect your data.

The Clear App


From the people who try to lure you at the airport with the promise of avoiding long security lines. By downloading this free app you’ll be able to create a digital vaccine card complete with your photo. No subscription is necessary.



Another free app that allows you to display an easy to read, scannable vaccine card with all the relevant info on it. The company also ensures that user info will not be tracked, but you can’t import it into Google Pay or Apple Wallet.

Take a photo

Simple as that! If you opt for this method, consider placing it in a hidden album so it can’t be viewed from your library, or “favorite” the photo so it’s easy to pull up when needed.

Scan the card

If you’re using an iPhone, you can scan your vax card using the Notes app. Start a new note, tap on the camera and go down to “scan document.” Then add your card with the built-in scanner. You can then choose to lock it with a passcode. Any time you tap on the note, it will ask you to type a passcode to view.

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