Why the myColorado vaccine app is sort of broken (and how to fix it)

Provided by myColorado

Colorado’s smartphone digital ID app has an overwhelmingly positive rating: 4.7 stars with over 25,000 reviews on the Apple App Store.

The most recent comments, however, tell a different story: Users have trashed the myColorado app in recent weeks.

They say they have a hard time opening and using it, which is a problem as tens of thousands of people now rely on the app to display their digital COVID-19 vaccination cards at concerts and companies.

“This app was great (for) the first two months. But now it’s super glitchy and won’t even open,” read a user comment posted on Sunday. Common issues include a loop that leaves users stuck on the login screen, an endless “verification” screen and more.

In response, state officials suggested temporary workarounds and promised to make fixes. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about how to make the app work – and how to access your digital immunization card without it.

Growing popularity

State officials say the app has been flawed, in part because its popularity is skyrocketing.

“There are a lot of people who are really trying to use it and there have been growing pains – every week we are working to improve performance, working to make new versions,” said Russell Castagnero, director of the digital transformation for Office of the Governor of Information Technology.

The app was first launched in October 2019 as a way to provide digital ID cards to Coloradans. The state added vaccine card capabilities to the app in August.

MyColorado has averaged 90,000 new users per month since the summer and has quadrupled its number of users. Of these people, approximately 230,000 accessed their immunization records through the app – demand increasing by new vaccine requirements at businesses and sites.

Castagnero expected some of the more common issues to be addressed with an update in the coming weeks. The app is available on Apple iOS and Android operating systems, and it was developed by the state in collaboration with entrepreneurs.

How to get started with the app

The myColorado application has been free since App Store or the Google play store. Once downloaded, you will be asked to create an account and scan your Colorado driver’s license.

After logging in, check the “myVaccine Record” section of the app and fill in the requested information. This should deliver your immunization records to your phone.

The application can display the recording in two ways:

  • A SMART health card, which includes your photo and a QR code. Many companies can scan this QR code to verify your vaccination.
  • You can also press the “Show Immunization Card” menu to view the CDC’s regular immunization card.

Temporary corrections

State officials have suggested some temporary solutions to common problems. For more detailed information, refer to the official website of the application.

Screenshot by Nathan Heffel / CPR News
  • If you are stuck in the “Face ID” loop on an Apple device: Cover the front camera of the phone, which will break the loop, and then log in with your username and password. (This issue was caused by a change in the app, but it should be fixed permanently by this little hack. The state aims to fix it in a future update.)
  • If you are stuck on the “authenticated” green screen: Wait 60-90 seconds on this screen, without pressing any button, so the app can load the next screen. Do not press the “back” arrow. If that doesn’t fix the problem … try again.
  • If your digital wallet in the app is empty: Please wait. Loading your ID cards can take one to five minutes. (This problem is the result of high demand, according to state officials.)
  • If your vaccination record is not displayed: Uninstall and reinstall the app.
  • If your vaccination record has expired: Tap the “Refresh” icon on the myVaccine Record page.
  • If you are still having difficulty accessing your vaccination record in the app: Tap the link that says “Please complete this form” at the top of the myVaccine Record page.

How to save a copy to your phone … so you don’t have to use the app

State officials say you should keep a backup copy of your vaccination record on your phone, just in case the app doesn’t work.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • Take a photo of your actual vaccination card.
  • Take a screenshot or download the SMART Health Card from the app.
  • Take a screenshot or download the standard COVID-19 vaccination card from the app.

Any of these options should work in many businesses, but individual site practices may vary – so state officials have advised keeping a digital copy of the two the QR code and the regular card on your phone, in addition to the myColorado app.

“The gold standard is really within myColorado,” said Brandi Simmons, ILO spokesperson.

How to add your Colorado vaccination record to your digital wallet

There is also a newer option: it is now possible to add your vaccination record to the digital wallet of Apple phones. The process is a bit complicated, however.

If you have the latest version of iOS, you can do the following:

  • Take a screenshot of your vaccine’s QR code (pressing the volume up and power buttons simultaneously while looking at the correct page)
  • Open the Photos app and navigate to the “All Photos” tab
  • Open screenshot
  • Tap the small icon at the bottom right of the image; it must turn blue
  • Tap the image
  • Press the “Open in Health” link that appears
  • Tap the “Add to wallet and health” icon

It’s as easy as ABCDEFOMG! Alternatively, you can also print the QR code or display it on another screen and then scan it with your phone.

The state is hoping to add a much simpler option for exporting to digital wallets, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

“We have a lot of things on the list – we want to tackle the most important ones first,” Castagnero said.

“As with any application, we will continually be upgrading, patching, learning, and hopefully adoption continues to soar,” Simmons said.

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