Kokua Line: Will a digital photo of my CDC card suffice for Safe Access Oahu?


Question: If I do not opt in for the state’s SMART Health Card, can I show a photo (on my cellphone) of my COVID-19 CDC vaccination card instead of showing the actual vaccination card to comply with the Safe Access Oahu program?

Answer: Yes, according to oneoahu.org, the website that explains the rules and requirements of the Honolulu County program that takes effect Monday, requiring customers, employees, contractors and volunteers inside certain types of businesses — including restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums and arcades — to be vaccinated against or tested for COVID- 19. Customers who stay inside 15 minutes or less or who are served outdoors are exempt, as are children under 12 years old.

Your question makes the distinction between Hawaii’s SMART Health Card, which businesses may prefer as proof of COVID-19 vaccination because it can be verified at a glance, and other forms of documentation. Businesses covered by Safe Access Oahu may accept Hawaii’s SMART Health Card or other records that demonstrate the bearer is fully vaccinated against the disease.

According to the Safe Access Oahu website, “proof of full vaccination means demonstrating that a person has completed a vaccination regimen approved by the Hawaii Department of Health in compliance with all requirements of the state’s Safe Travels program through providing a state-approved digital application, a hard copy of a state-approved vaccination card, or a photograph of the same.”

It shows examples of acceptable proof at 808ne.ws/vacproex, including:

>> CDC COVID-19 vaccination card, in hard copy or digital form. A photograph stored on a phone is acceptable.

>> Hawaii-approved digital/smart device application confirming full vaccination status. This includes proof of a vaccine exemption within Hawaii’s Safe Travels digital platform or a Hawaii SMART Health Card QR code or verification result.

>> Hawaii DOH vaccination record report

>> Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) report

Based on the descriptions and definitions on the website, a hard copy or digital photograph of a DOD DD Form 2766C also should be accepted for military members, military dependents or Department of Defense employees vaccinated at military facilities. Although that form is not listed as an example, it is approved for use by the state DOH as proof of vaccination in the state’s Safe Travels platform.

Q: Regarding the SMART card, that does seem like the easiest way to go because then I don’t have to carry my actual CDC card around and I don’t think they ask for a lot of other information like those commercial apps. Can you confirm that, though? I never signed up for Safe Travels because I haven’t flown anywhere.

A: Yes. The Hawaii SMART Health Card created through the state’s Safe Travels digital platform asks for the user’s name and email address, plus what type of COVID-19 vaccine they received (including the lot numbers) and when and where they received it. The step-by-step guide at 808ne.ws/useguide explains how to fill out the online form, so you can see what information is required before proceeding.

Q: On the news Thursday, CIO Doug Murdock, of the state’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services, said that people would be able to upload their SMART Health Card onto Samsung Pay and on Android and Apple devices in those devices’ applications for health. Is that functionality available now? I had no trouble uploading my vaccine card and generating the QR code, but the best I could do was save it to my phone as a photo, not in my digital wallet or health app.

A: “The experience using the system on a smartphone or mobile device is similar to using an app without having to download another app to your device. The SMART Health Card QR code can be added to the Samsung Pay and CommonHealth app now, and more apps will be available in the future,” Murdock said in an email Friday.

Q: Auwe! My wife signed up for the health card in two minutes, and with me it wouldn’t verify! Can’t blame user error because she even tried to do it for me!

A: In a follow-up, you said that you were vaccinated at a VA facility, while your wife got her shots through work, at Hawaii Pacific Health’s Pier 2 mass clinic. That’s the problem. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and certain other federal agencies and programs have not released vaccination records to the state of Hawaii’s database, so your vaccine card could not be verified electronically through the state system.

There are many others like you in Hawaii who are equally frustrated. As explained in the previous question, you may use a hard copy or digital photo of your CDC card or DOD DD Form 2766C to confirm your vaccination. We are seeking updates about whether these federal facilities will ever link with the state database but were unable to get more information by deadline.


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email [email protected]






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