Illinois using SMART health card with personal vaccine QR code to prove you're vaccinated

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's a new option from the state of Illinois to prove that you're vaccinated. The state's health vaccination portal now offers digital verification you can now save to your phone's wallet app.

It's called the "SMART" Health Card and it's being offered through the state's Vax Verify portal.

You can download a QR Code with your vaccination information right to your phone that can be scanned at businesses, music venues, anywhere requiring vaccination. In an instant, you provide that vaccination proof with no paper cards or pictures necessary.

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Some private companies have implemented similar technology, but this is through the state of Illinois using the vaccination information about you the state already has. You don't have to upload anything. Just register by creating an account at idphportal.illinois.gov, step by step verify your identity, view your immunizations, and download your personal vaccination QR code.

"It's really streamlined the process for us helping get people their information," said Billy Helmkamp, who co-owns the bar and music venue Sleeping Village on the Northwest Side. He's already using the state's Vax Verify program for proof of vaccination.

"Frankly, we get a lot more 'thank yous' than 'F yous,'" he said.

Health experts say it's another tool to quickly and easily keep people safe.

"I was really pleased because it eliminates the need to carry around a flimsy piece of paper," said Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Carnethon said the process was simple.

"This information is already available at the state level, where my children were vaccinated at a local pharmacy, it was already uploaded where I was vaccinated during a vaccine event, and all of that information was automatically there and it was virtually a one step process," she said.

And she said it could add a layer of security, cutting down on potential fraud by showing data directly from the state.

You may have an issue logging in if you have a credit alert or freeze. The state verifies your identity through Experian. If you run into that problem, the state recommends you head here for help: https://dph.illinois.gov/vaxverify
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