COLORADO, USA — It is "vax or mask" time in most Denver metro area counties.
The public health orders require businesses to mandate masks for customers, or require proof of vaccination to be in the business without a mask.
The size of the paper vaccination card does not make for easy transportation.
"The cardboard vaccine card that the CDC came up with is very, very easy to fake. It's not really particularly legible. If you lose it, it's not easy to get another one," said Russell Castagnaro, Colorado's Director of Digital Transformation in the Office of Information Technology.
He runs the MyColorado app, which provides a digital copy of your vaccination card.
If you can use the app at all, that is.
"I would give it a 4.3," Castagnaro said. "I'm deducting for the fact that some users are having a hard time, especially with this last release."
In the App Store for iOS, the app has a 4.7 rating.
In the Play Store for Android, the app has a 1.8 rating.
"In a lot of cases, we had people using the application that were a couple versions back that performed nowhere near as well," Castagnaro said.
On Tuesday, 3,300 people used the app to access their digital vaccine card, according to the state.
"We've been growing at 90,000 users a month since July," Castagnaro said. "Now we have something like 465,000 users in MyColorado, and that's a lot of demand."
That has caused issues for users of the app.
First, to get to the vaccine record part of the app, you need to download the app and create an account by scanning the barcode on the back of your Colorado driver's license or ID. That creates a digital version of your ID in the app.
To access your vaccine record, you need to take a selfie so the app can compare your picture to the picture on your ID.
You cannot skip this step.
Having the app recognize your face has caused issues for some using iPhones.
For example, on Wednesday morning, a 9NEWS employee tried to log in using Face ID, but the app kept going in an endless loop, appearing like it was trying to log in.
"That's the Face ID loop. All your friend has to do is to cover the front-facing camera, and then it'll say 'oh, we couldn't do it.' And then they cancel, and then log in," Castagnaro said. "And then it'll never happen again. But it is irritating."
The Office of Information Technology has set up an FAQ section to answer questions like the Face ID loop issue.
The vaccine record on the app is no different than taking a photo of your vaccine card, except you do not have to scroll through photos of your pet or spouse to get to the saved photo.
Use of the MyColorado App as proof of your vaccination status is specifically listed as valid proof in the new public health orders from Tri-County Health and Jefferson County Public Health. It is not explicitly listed in the Denver Department of Public Health order.
"Quite often we have 50,60 requests per second coming to our servers," Castagnaro said.
There is another update coming to the app that will solve some of the demand issues.
"It improved a lot of what we saw as 'low network connection places,' so like if you're at the Ball Arena or you're at a stadium or you're at a concert, bandwidth is harder to come by," Castagnaro said. "What we've done is made it so we're hitting our servers as little as possible to give all the users the best experience possible."
And if all else fails, you need to know Engineering 101.
"Uninstall and reinstall basically gets you to start off fresh," Castagnaro said.
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