Cobbled together proof-of-concept vaccination verification system, showing a dot-matrix receipt printer, a webcam for QR code scanning, and an old laptop running the software

Manitoban Makes Open Software Demo Of Proprietary Vaccine Verification Systems

[Mark Jenkins] wasn’t impressed with the Covid 19 vaccination verification systems that restaurants in Manitoba are required to use. Patrons must present a QR code, which must be verified by a mobile app available only from Apple or Google. With help from his local hackerspace, he came up with a bash script solution requiring only kilobytes vs the 50 MB of the mobile apps. [Mark] isn’t pleased with the exclusivity of the apps availability and the lack of an open API. His concern isn’t entirely theoretical, either — Google mysteriously pulled their app from the Play Store for over a week.

The interim result, shown in the video below, is a demonstration system called Alexandra. It consists of a receipt printer, a webcam being used as a QR scanner, and a 2005-era laptop running the script. This is merely a proof of concept, as [Mark] clearly notes. There is still some work to be done — for example, the method used to authenticate with the Google server is transient. But eventually [Mark] hopes to have a free software alternative soon, suitable for restaurant owners to use in their establishments.

What kinds of vaccination verifications systems, if any, are used in your part of the world? Is the system open or proprietary? Let us know in the comments below.

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Smartphone App For Leftover Vaccinations

South Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency launched a pilot program yesterday to minimize vaccination waste using a nationwide smartphone app. People who are over 30 years of age can search for leftover doses on their smartphones. If any are available, they can book an appointment immediately within the app, and then get to the medical center within hours to receive the injection. One can tag up to five nearby inoculation centers to receive an instant message when a dose becomes available.

These leftover doses arise from people who have missed their appointment, but also just as you would expect when considering the short shelf life of the opened vaccine, the number of doses per vial, and modulo arithmetic. Within hours of the program rolling out, people began complaining about server problems and the lack of available doses. But this is a pilot program, after all, so some glitches are to be expected.

The full program is supposed to begin on June 9th, although it isn’t clear how it will be different from the pilot project, other than presumably having fewer bugs. The lead picture above shows the availability of leftover vaccines in central Seoul this morning — zero (the symbol 없음 means “none”). But the system does indeed work and people received vaccinations yesterday utilizing this program.

Technically speaking, this isn’t a new app, but rather, it is integrated into the two most popular South Korean portal sites. Anyone already using KakaoTalk or the Naver portal on their smartphone can use this leftover vaccination service with just the press of a few icons. Are the health authorities in your region utilizing smartphone apps or online reservations sites to distribute these leftover doses, doses that would otherwise be discarded? Let us know in the comments below.

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