Key points to remember
- Your COVID-19 vaccine card contains important information and serves as proof of vaccination and medical records.
- If you lose your vaccine card, you should be able to get a replacement from your vaccine provider.
- Experts recommend taking a photo of your COVID-19 vaccine card and keeping the original with other important documents.
If you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should also have received a vaccine card created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).The card includes the date of your dose, the vaccine you received, where you received your injection and other important information. If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive your card when you receive the vaccine.
Experts say you should hold on to your card and keep it safe, as you’ll likely need it later. But accidents happen.
“If for some reason you lose this card, you can go back to where you got it and they should be able to provide you with up-to-date documentation,” Sarah Lynch, PharmD, Clinical Assistant Professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, State University of New York, says Verywell.
Replacing a lost or damaged card
Even with diligent retention practices, you can misplace or damage a card. If you received your vaccine at a pharmacy or through your health care provider, you can contact that pharmacy, clinic or hospital to receive a replacement card. You can also contact your vaccine supplier if for some reason you have not received a vaccination card.
“Any site that distributes these vaccines has a record,” says Lynch. “Most of it is also submitted to state and national registers.”
If you received your vaccine through a large pop-up site or mass vaccination event at a stadium, convention center, or other place that is no longer in operation, you may need to find a replacement card. via the health department in charge of running this site, adds Lynch. You can also contact the Immunization Information System (IIS) of your national health department. According to the CDC, immunization providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to IIS and associated systems.
If you’ve signed up for V-safe or VaxText, you can also access your COVID-19 vaccine information through these tools. However, these resources cannot be used as an official vaccination record. You will still need to get a replacement card.
What this means for you
Keep your original COVID-19 vaccine card in a safe place with other important documents and do not laminate it. You may need it in the future if booster shots are needed or if proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to access events or travel. Experts recommend taking a photo of your card as a backup. If you lose the original or if it is damaged, you should be able to get a replacement from your vaccine supplier or the health care department.
The importance of the card
COVID-19 vaccination cards serve several purposes. First, the card tells you and your vaccine provider what COVID-19 vaccine you have received. If you received a two-dose vaccine, your provider will match you with a second dose from the same vaccine manufacturer and schedule you to come back for your second dose when the time is right, says Lynch.
Even after you are fully immunized, the card remains a valuable record and tool. “It can become important if there are booster shots in the future,” says Lynch. “Some vaccines may require booster shots. Some might not be. We do not know yet.
The card also contains important information for each dose of vaccine you have received, including the expiration date of the dose and the lot number. Both of these are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug labeling requirements.The expiration date can be important in timing your potential reminder appointment in the future. And the lot number is crucial in drug labeling to track a drug’s full manufacturing history.
For example, when the vaccine rollout began, and rare cases of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) were reported, the CDC was able to determine that the cases were seen with doses from multiple lot numbers, rather that all from the same supply. In other words, the cases were not the result of a manufacturing problem, but rather rare cases of allergic reaction at a rate comparable to other vaccines.
Initially, the vaccination card will also serve as proof of COVID-19 vaccination, if applicable. “It is suspected that there will be the possibility that places will start requiring some sort of vaccination passport to do certain things, maybe travel or participate in certain events,” says Lynch. However, it might become digitized later.
Lynch points out that we are used to our health care providers keeping track of our vaccination history. “If you work in a health care facility or go to college, you need to have a record of your immunizations,” she says. “And most of us don’t really care. We contact the pediatrician, or we contact our doctor. They give us a printed list. We give it to our employer and we don’t have to think about it. ”
However, with the pandemic, millions of people are vaccinated against COVID-19 daily. And that is why the vaccine card is such a useful tool and serves as an immediate medical record, as well as a future one.
“At this time, we may know the dates of our COVID-19 vaccination due to the severity of the pandemic and the anticipation of vaccine development and then the availability of doses when the rollout began.” , said Lynch. “It looks like we’ll never forget. But it will get really hard to remember, and the map helps in that sense.”
Protect your card
At this time, you do not need to have your vaccine card with you. Rather than stowing it in your purse or wallet – where it could be lost, stolen, or damaged – Lynch recommends storing it in a safe place where you will keep other medical records or important documents.
“Really make sure you take a photo of the card on your phone in case you are traveling or attending an event where they want to see a copy,” says Makaela Premont, PharmD, a North Carolina-based pharmacist, to Verywell . “I also recommend sending it to you by email.” Sending a photo of the card as an email attachment allows you to store the image elsewhere than on your phone as a backup.
If you take a photo of your vaccine card, do not share it publicly. “Despite the popularity of posting COVID-19 vaccine selfies showing your contribution to protecting yourself and others, it’s a good idea not to post an image of your immunization card on social media,” Amber Dessellier, PhD, MPH, CHES, A faculty member in Walden University’s doctoral program in public health, told Verywell. “Your vaccination card includes identifying information that can potentially be used by identity thieves.”
While laminating your card might seem like a good step to protect it, experts don’t recommend it. “Laminating your card would prevent the possibility of adding more information in the future, such as additional doses or reminders if necessary,” explains Dessellier.
However, if you’ve ever laminated your card, Lynch says not to worry. A plastic card will not prevent you from receiving your second dose of a two-dose vaccine or from receiving a booster. If you want to add some protection to your vaccine card, Premont recommends a plastic badge case, which you can pick up at any office supply store.
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