Murphy: Not a ‘passport,’ but NJ has digital vax tracker
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey on Monday unveiled a phone app that lets people keep track of their COVID-19 vaccination card digitally.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the app called Docket during a news conference in Trenton. He said it’s not meant to serve as a passport, and instead will serve as a backup in case people lose their paper vaccination cards.
It’s unclear what the app cost the state to develop, said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
She added that officials plan to begin allowing people to use the app to track other vaccinations they have, but for now it works just for the coronavirus vaccine.
The app is available through Apple and Google Play app stores, the governor said.
“To be absolutely clear, this is not a ‘passport,’” Murphy said. “Docket is intended solely to give residents easy access to their COVID vaccination record, especially if their vaccination card has been damaged or lost.”
Murphy has been reluctant to embrace the idea of vaccine passport, proof of vaccination, in order to enter certain places or take part in certain activities. On Monday, he said he wants to see more vaccine “equity,” particular among African American residents.
Objections to passports revolve in part around privacy and security, including how people’s personal information will be stored, and fairness. Critics say the passports will benefit people and countries with more access to vaccines. Supporters say they could make reopenings faster and easier.
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DELTA VARIANT RISING
The delta variant of the virus is now predominant in New Jersey, the governor said.
He stressed that health officials shown the three available vaccines are effective against this variant, a version of the coronavirus that has been found in more than 80 countries since it was first detected in India.
It got its name from the World Health Organization, which names notable variants after letters of the Greek alphabet.
More than 5.1 million people have been fully vaccinated in New Jersey, Murphy said. That’s about 66% of the eligible population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with about 56% for the country overall.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Jersey rose the past two weeks from 235 new cases per day on June 26 to 264 on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths fell, going from nine deaths a day on June 26 to almost five a day on Sunday. That’s according to data from Johns Hopkins University.