After seeing record COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County will use technology to help residents track and prove their vaccination records, Bloomberg reports. The public health department has teamed with startup Healthvana on an app that will that will store vaccination records in Google or Apple wallets. It will remind residents to get a second shot, while providing them with a vaccination record “to prove to airlines, to prove to schools, to prove to whoever needs it,” Healthvana CEO Ramin Bastani told Bloomberg.
Pfizer allocated 82,875 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the region and nearly half have been distributed to emergency workers, health service providers and long-term facility residents. However, LA County is one of the largest in the US with over 10 million residents, so once vaccinations ramp up next year, keeping track will become a challenge. On top of that, deaths in the county are approaching 10,000, so hospitals and clinics are already overwhelmed — and it’s expected to get much worse in January 2021.
“We’re really concerned. We really want people to come back for that second dose,” said the LA County Department of Public Health’s Claire Jarashow. “We just don’t have the capacity to be doing hundreds of medical record requests to find people’s first doses and when they need to get their second.”
It’s not yet clear when the app/service will be available or exactly how it will work. Healthvana already offers a contact tracing app for LA County residents, along with patient portals to view test results and other COVID-19 related services. Other companies like IBM and non-profit organizations are also working on digital “vaccine passports” that will eventually allow folks to travel or enter stadiums, movie theaters and other venues.