Alberta launches app to read COVID-19 vaccination QR code

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces the launch of a government-supported verification app to check proof of COVID-19 vaccination with a QR code.

A new app is out in Alberta for restaurants and businesses to scan patrons’ proof of COVID-19 vaccine QR code.

Click here for Tuesday’s daily COVID-19 numbers

At the beginning of the month, the province announced vaccinated Albertans would be able to sign up for a unique QR code to use as proof of immunization. At the time, there was no secure app to scan the QR code — until now.

Quietly making an appearance on the Google Play and Apple App store Tuesday, the Alberta government introduced its new AB Covid Records Verifier.

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Starting Nov. 15, the QR scanner will be the only accepted proof of vaccination, according to the premier.

“When a valid QR code is scanned, a green checkmark will verify the proof of vaccination. It’s that easy for businesses and Albertans participating in the REP,” Kenney said.

During the announcement, Minister of Health Jason Copping encouraged Albertans to get their new QR code “as soon as you can.”

“You can download it or take a screenshot of it and you can also print it if you wish. If you don’t have a phone, you can get a printed version from a local registry agent at no cost,” Copping added.

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According to the app’s description, it will be “the government of Alberta’s official app to check vaccine records by scanning a QR code.”

“The app will verify if the proof of vaccination is authentic. If valid, the app will display a green checkmark and the person’s legal name and date of birth.”

“Privacy of health information is vitally important,” Health Minister Jason Copping said.

“So, to repeat, the app does not store any personal information, and it does not link to any external data, the QR code isn’t a hot link to an external database or website, all of the required information is contained within the code itself.”

Currently, Albertans only have to show proof they’re more than 14 days past their first dose of vaccine to enter businesses and other venues that are participating in the restrictions exemption program.

However, come Oct. 25, that changes to 14 days after the second dose.

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The description also states the app won’t save any information on the device and it does not collect any usage analytics.

To download the app, search AB Covid Records Verifier on Google Play and Apple App store.

85% Albertans have at least one dose

More than 3.2 million Albertans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Alberta Health.

The threshold was reached in the past month and a half, with 430,000 immunizations being recorded since Sept. 3 — the day the government announced the $100 vaccine incentive program.

Alberta’s vaccine passport system came into effect on Sept. 20.

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“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and can affect people of all ages,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“That’s why it’s important that we all get vaccinated to get the best available protection from this virus.”

Meanwhile, 76 per cent of the population has both doses, which Hinshaw says will give people “the most benefits from the vaccine.”

Albertans have until Thursday to get vaccinated in order to qualify for the vaccine prepaid debit card, which you can sign up for on the government’s website.

North of $15M projected for vaccine incentive

Meantime, Alberta is on track to spend more than $15 million to directly pay vaccine-hesitant residents to get the COVID-19 shot.

The province says that more than 152,000 Albertans have signed up to receive the $100 preloaded debit card in return for getting the vaccine.

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The card, along with other measures such as a modified vaccine passport, have lifted Alberta’s numbers closer to national averages.

The promotion ends Thursday night.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there was an average of eight COVID-19 deaths per day reported to Alberta Health since the beginning of the long weekend.

Alberta Health said 33 deaths had been reported over the weekend, including a 14-year-old boy in the Central zone. According to Hinshaw, the boy had multiple “complex” pre-existing conditions that contributed to his death.

There were four other deaths reported from the Central zone where a man and a woman in their 50s and a man and a woman in their 80s died. All four had pre-existing conditions.

There were four deaths reported from the Calgary zone: a man in his 60s, a woman in her 90s and two men in their 80s,  all with pre-existing conditions.

There were 11 deaths reported from the Edmonton zone: two men in their 80s, two men and a woman in their 70s, two men in their 50s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 90s, all with pre-existing conditions. A man in his 80s and a man in his 40s without any known conditions also died.

Five of the deaths were reported from the North zone, three of which had pre-existing conditions: two men in their 70s and a woman in her 80s. A woman in her 30s and a woman in her 50s with now known conditions also died.

The rest of the deaths reported were in the South zone where all eight people had pre-existing conditions: a man and a woman in their 60s, four men in their 80s and two men in their 70s.

Alberta Health said Tuesday that 3,358 new cases of COVID-19 were reported since Friday’s update from roughly 40,677 tests.

The province confirmed an additional 1,085 cases on Friday, 1,039 new cases on Saturday, 628 new cases on Sunday and 606 new cases on Monday.

The positivity rate varied over the weekend between 7.9 and 9.2 per cent. On Monday, it was 8.3 per cent.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,053 people in hospital with COVID-19, 242 of whom were in the ICU.

There are currently 15,295 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

There are active COVID-19 alerts or outbreaks in 464 Alberta schools, with 13 of those schools on outbreak.

With files from the Canadian Press and Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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