How to show vaccination proof amid California COVID mandates

An employee checks a customer's proof of COVID-19 vaccination
Bennett Erickson, left, general manager at Sunset Beer in Echo Park, checks proof of vaccination for Anthony Trapanese, middle, and Caitlin Forst.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

California state officials and private businesses are increasingly prepared to request proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a precondition of both work and play.

The landscape of vaccination verification is dynamic and has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. But with the state still battling its latest coronavirus surge, and health officials united in their call for more people to roll up their sleeves, such requirements could become more common in the weeks and months ahead.

Here are some of the basics about where California currently stands, and what you need to know about presenting proof of vaccination:


The latest rules

Schools: California on Wednesday ordered that school employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to at least a weekly test proving they are not infected with the coronavirus.

“We think this is the right thing to do,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “And we think this is a sustainable way to keeping our schools open and to address the No. 1 anxiety that parents like myself have for young children — and that is knowing that the schools are doing everything in their power to keep our kids safe.”

School employees must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to a regular test proving they are not infected with the coronavirus under an order from Newsom.

Aug. 11, 2021

Public and healthcare employees: California previously announced a similar vaccination-or-testing policy for employees of state agencies, as well as a mandate, with limited religious and medical exceptions, that state healthcare workers roll up their sleeves.

Colleges: Both the University of California and the Cal State systems have announced strict vaccination requirements for all students and staff, who will be turned away from in-person classes and indoor campus facilities if they are not inoculated. Exceptions will be made for those with medical or religious exemptions.

Last week, the Los Angeles Community College District established vaccination rules for staff and students in line with the K-12 policy: Show proof of vaccination or submit to regular coronavirus testing.


The L.A. City Council has voted to direct city attorneys to draft a law requiring people to be at least partially vaccinated before heading to indoor sites.

Aug. 11, 2021

Verification at businesses

A growing number of private businesses — from restaurants to entertainment venues to offices — have decided to require proof of vaccination for employees, patrons or both.

In Los Angeles, there’s also growing momentum toward requiring people to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before venturing into indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shops, movie theaters and other venues.

The City Council voted Wednesday to direct city attorneys to draft such a law. Once written, the proposal would go back before the council for final approval.

“Los Angeles has a responsibility to protect Angelenos. And if we need to encourage people to get vaccinated by putting restrictions on leisure activity, then so be it,” Councilman Paul Koretz said.

Though much of the plan remains to be worked out, including where it would apply and how the new rules would be enforced, proponents characterized it as a vital step in advancing the cause against the coronavirus.

“We’re not going to tell someone, anyone, that they have to get vaccinated,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “We’re also not going to deny anyone the ability to access essentials — food, medicine, etc. — regardless of vaccination. That wouldn’t be legal, that wouldn’t be moral. But what is immoral is choosing not to get vaccinated, choosing to listen to some delusional rant on Twitter. This is real life. Vaccines work.”

Here’s what you need to know about the state’s new service showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19. First: It’s not a passport.

June 18, 2021

Proof of vaccination

Though the specific requirements may vary from place to place, residents already should have access to several options to show their inoculation status.

For starters, everyone who’s been vaccinated for COVID-19 should have received a white paper card from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailing where and when they got their shots. Presenting the card itself, or a photo of it, should suffice in many situations.

California also released an electronic version in June, which is accessible through

When using that portal, residents will be prompted to provide their name, date of birth and the email address or cellphone number they used when getting their vaccine. Residents will then create a four-digit personal identification number. If the submitted information matches an official record, the resident will get a text or email with a link to access a digital copy.

State officials recommend taking a screenshot to store the vaccine record on a mobile device, or printing out a physical copy and keeping it in a safe place.

If you were vaccinated in L.A. County, you’ll have access to a digital vaccine record through Healthvana. It’s not a vaccine passport, though. There are also other ways to get your COVID-19 vaccination records.

June 3, 2021

The California Immunization Registry also allows anyone vaccinated in the state to access their vaccination records digitally.

Healthvana, an online medical data resource, has also teamed with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to provide digitized records.