The state Friday launched its new digital system offering residents a convenient way to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status in Hawaii ahead of mandatory requirements for entry into certain businesses on Oahu on Monday.
The Hawaii SMART Health Card was available Friday at travel.hawaii.gov, the same site travelers use for the Hawaii Safe Travels program, and thousands signed in to get one.
From 2 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, 19,125 users had downloaded their information and successfully created a SMART Health Card, according to Douglas Murdock, chief information officer of the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services.
“This is about 75% of all attempts to create a SMART Health Card,” said Murdock in an email. “This is the success rate we expected. We will analyze the data to see if we can improve the success rate over time.”
There were some who downloaded their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards and information, and received a QR code without a hitch, while others tried a few times before succeeding.
The QR code can then be scanned by businesses via an app, verifying patrons’ vaccination status.
Starting Monday, Honolulu County’s Safe Access O‘ahu rules go into effect, requiring customers of restaurants, gyms and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the past 48 hours to enter. State officials say they are looking at expanding the system to allow residents to also upload negative COVID-19 test results.
Maui County has proposed a similar program called Safer Outside for restaurants, bars and gyms, starting Wednesday, but without the testing option.
There were roughly 6,000 others who attempted to use the new digital system and did not succeed or who received a “could not verify” message.
Murdock said as previously announced, individuals who received vaccinations from entities that do not submit data into the state database — such as federal vaccination programs — will not be able to obtain a Hawaii SMART Health Card.
Those entities include the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, select federal agencies and some pharmacies that provided vaccines to nursing homes under the long-term care facility program.
In addition to type of vaccine, dates of vaccinations and lot numbers, provider and location, users must digitally sign an authorization to release and disclose COVID-19 vaccination information.
“Success also depends on the accuracy of the data entered by the individual and the provider into the database,” said Murdock. “Human data entry of variations of names entered into data entry could be one example of why a vaccine document isn’t able to be auto-verified by Hawaii SMART Health Card.”
The use of the SMART Health Card is voluntary, and people who do not want to or who were unable to get a QR code, can still show their original card or a photo of it as proof of vaccination.
One user had to re-format a photo from his phone into jpg format before being able to upload it. The photos of the vaccination cards need to be in either jpg or pdf format.
Murdock said a copy of the SMART Health Card QR code can be saved in Samsung Pay, CommonPass or CommonHealth but that saving and using a photo of the QR code is not recommended because it might fail in the verifier application.
If not saved in one of those apps, people can log in to the Safe Travels website to show their QR code, or print out the QR code.
Also, the Hawaii SMART Health Card cannot be used for travel to the state. Those who already received a vaccine exception in Safe Travels still have to upload their card and information separately to receive a SMART Health Card.
Hawaii SMART Health Cards follow the format recommended by the Vaccine Credential Initiative, the state said in a news release. The state also said it is required by various federal and state laws to protect health information, including vaccination information submitted by SMART Health Card participants.
“(Friday)’s rollout of the Hawaii SMART Health Card was the first iteration of the application,” said Murdock. “We thank the people of Hawaii for their support and excitement for the project. And we want to also especially thank everyone for their patience as we improve the system. We are continuously working to improve the application and its features.”
Responses to frequently asked questions are available at hawaiicovid19.com/smart-health-card.