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What Should You Do with Your COVID Vaccine Card?

covid vaccine and card

When you get a COVID-19 vaccination, you'll get a 4-by-3-inch paper card that includes details of your vaccine on it. It'll have the date you received each dose and where, as well as the vaccine manufacturer. But what should you do with that card?

What To Do and Not To Do With Vaccine Card

There's a lot of contradicting information out there about what to do with those vaccine cards. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

What should you do (and not do) with the card you get at the vaccination site? 

Hang on to that card because it's proof of your vaccination. Store the original someplace secure at home. Make a few printed copies or snap a photo of the card. If you can't keep a photo, keep a printed copy (not the original) in your wallet in case you need to show it. When you see your doctor, bring your card with you so they can note it in your permanent health record.

But be careful about posting a photo of your vaccine card on social media. Your card contains personal details, such as your name and birthdate, that could put you at risk for identity theft. If you want to share the news that you got your shot, cover the personal information on your card. Better yet, snap a selfie wearing your "I'm vaccinated!" sticker.

You also shouldn't laminate your card, although you may have heard otherwise. You might need to record info about a booster shot at a later date. Also, laminating machines have a heating element that can cause the ink to smudge. If you want to protect the card from spills, stains, and rips, store it in a plastic sleeve, like an ID badge holder. 

Why keep your vaccine card?

Many health and government officials suggest we may need to start showing proof we were vaccinated for certain things. They're still developing a system for how this will happen. But it could involve showing our vaccine card as proof. You'll also need access to your card if and when we're advised to get booster shots. The card lists the dates of your shots and the manufacturer name (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J), so you'll know which vaccine you already received.

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What if you lose your vaccine card?

One protection: Make a print or digital copy, so you'll have extras if you lose one. If you misplace the original and want another, check with the place where you received your vaccine. They should have your vaccine information stored and may issue you another card.

There should also be an electronic record with the state where you received the vaccine. If you provided your doctor with proof of vaccination, it will be stored in your patient record, and they can provide the information you need as well.

Will we need to show proof of vaccination for travel, school, work, or public events?

It's possible that we'll need to show proof of vaccination for international travel. We may also need it to get into public places like

For example, many colleges and universities in the U.S. have already announced vaccine requirements for students beginning in fall 2021. Until regulations are set, check before you go somewhere to see if you'll be required to show any documentation.

Will we receive some type of government-issued vaccination proof in the future?

Maybe, but it won't be happening anytime soon. In the U.S., the federal government is leaving it up to individual states to decide what will be required and when.

Some states, like Florida, have announced they are banning businesses from asking for vaccine proof. Other states are still developing their programs. There's also talk of some type of vaccine passport being developed for international travel.

Officials working on the issue are encountering a number of obstacles, including trying to find a fraud-proof system that works for everyone. For now, the best plan is to take good care of the card you get in case you need it.

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