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April 30, 2021

Reading Terminal restaurant gets employees QR bracelets to show customers its staff has been vaccinated

The wearable, called Immunaband, links to a person's digitally stored COVID-19 inoculation record; it was developed by a Wharton grad

Health News COVID-19
ImmunaBand at Reading Terminal Market Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The owner of El Merkury restaurant in Reading Terminal Market has employees wearing bracelets called ImmunaBand, which digitally store each employee's COVID-19 vaccination information. The photo above was taken outside the market in 2015.

The staff at one restaurant at Reading Terminal Market is showing its customers that its workers have received their COVID-19 vaccines.

Employees at El Merkury, a new food vendor at the market that serves Central American street food, are sporting blue bracelets, called ImmunaBand. 

The bracelets, created by Dr. Tashof Bernton, a graduate of Penn's Wharton School, are wearable IDs that allow wearers to digitally store their COVID-19 vaccination documentation – those white cards everyone is posting on social media with their names and the dates they received their shots. 

After purchasing an ImmunaBand bracelet for $19.99, customers are prompted to upload their vaccination information to the company's website, and the company generates a unique QR code that will link those documents to the bracelets.

The code is displayed on the bracelet and anyone can scan it with a smart phone to get proof the wearer has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Immunaband says customers' vaccination information is stored securely and pin number is needed to access that information when the QR code is scanned.

Sofia DeLeon, owner of El Merkury, which also has a restaurant at 2104 Chestnut St., told 6ABC she got employees the bracelets to let customers know her staff is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"It was really important for me to have everybody be vaccinated, to have everyone come back to work and feel safe," DeLeon said.

In an interview on FOX29 "Good Day Philadelphia" on Thursday, ImmunaBand's Bernton said his company's bracelets are a way for businesses can make customers feel more comfortable.

Earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully-vaccinated people do not have to wear masks while outside, so long as they are not in large groups. Bernton said the bracelets are a way to show one's vaccination status without having to carry a vaccine card everywhere.

"It's a good way to have your documentation with you," Bernton said. "We had two people with Immunabands use them to get into Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks (on Wednesday night), where they require vaccination."

As of Friday, more than 91 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In Philadelphia, more than 504,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

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