There is such a wonderful sense of relief when you get your vaccine. You are now protected and are protecting your loved ones. This is followed by receiving your vaccine immunization card and realizing that the small piece of paper you possess is the only record you have for proof of vaccination.
This vital card includes your name, birthdate, vaccine manufacturer, and the specific vaccine lot number your dose came from, plus where and when the vaccine was given—critical information that you want to keep safe and protected.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, losing your vaccination card could come with significant challenges. With more and more event venues, restaurants, and other public spaces requiring proof of vaccination for entry, keeping your vaccination card safe and readily available is increasingly important.
If you plan to travel overseas, your vaccination card may be necessary to enter many countries without requiring recent negative test results. The list of destinations allowing inoculated visitors is expected to continue to expand. Even if you get in without a recent test, you will, however, need a negative test to return to the United States, even if you've been vaccinated. See our recent article on summer travel for other considerations.
So how best to protect your vaccination card? And, if you lose it, how can you replace it? Below you will find some answers to these frequently asked questions.
What is the best way to protect your vaccination card?
Since your proof of vaccination is just a paper card that would not survive a mistaken cycle in the wash, experts recommend making a digital copy. Scan or take a digital photo of the card and save it on your phone for easy access. Then tuck the actual copy away safely in something like one of the protective covers mentioned below.
Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, suggests that you also write down the lot numbers and save the information somewhere you can find it later. Drug companies, like many manufacturers, routinely keep track of medications made at the same time at the same facility using batch or lot numbers. These identifiers allow manufacturers to better trace and coordinate a response, including contacting you to share information, if needed.
Should you laminate your card?
Laminating your card may seem like a good idea, but experts caution against this. First, if you need a booster shot, laminating the card will make it nearly impossible to update your information. Furthermore, the laminate can cause a reflection making your card hard to read. So, if you decide to laminate your card, make sure you choose a non-reflective laminate.
Instead of laminating, it may be best to use a protective sleeve that allows easy access to the card. You can find many varieties of these on Amazon or Etsy. There are also some wristlets and wallets with protective sleeves that can hold your card safely.
Should you consider a digital passport?
Digital vaccine passports are a fast-developing field. There are several options currently available and more on the way as different needs are identified. You may also need more than one app, depending on what you are trying to do. For example, you could use one app to attend a sporting event but a different app for travel abroad. An app may also serve as a good backup for the paper vaccination card.
One option is the Clear Healthpass from Clear. Although Clear is known mainly as the service that allows members to jump the security line at major airports, its app now has a convenient (and completely free) new feature called Health Pass. With Health Pass, users can store digital versions of their vaccine card for easy access when traveling, attending sporting events, or visiting any businesses that require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the NBA, MGM Resorts, and the state of Hawaii are using Clear for entry. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
VaxYes is a similar free, secure, digital vaccine passport. In three easy steps, you can get a secure, digital vaccine record that you can use for travel, live shows, and other entry requirements. VaxYes uses AES 256Bit encryption to make sure your personal information is secure in a HIPAA-compliant environment.
Other options include CommonPass and VeriFLY. Both apps allow users to connect their test results and vaccination records to the app. CommonPass is being rolled out for use by JetBlue, United, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic. American Airlines, as well British and Iberia, are using VeriFLY as their app of choice.
Note: PeaceHealth is not associated with any of the digital passport apps or sources listed above.
What should you do if your card gets stolen or lost?
If you do lose your card, you can replace it relatively easily. Start by contacting the place where you were vaccinated, and they should be able to provide you with a new card. If you are unable to contact your provider, the CDC recommends that you contact your state health department's immunization information system (IIS). Vaccine providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccination to their state's IIS. Your vaccine information is not tracked at the federal level, but it is tracked at the state and individual vaccine center level. If you received your vaccination at a PeaceHealth facility, you can also find your record in your My PeaceHealth account.
In short, the best course of action may be to have multiple digital copies of your card, leaving your paper card in a safe spot at home. This way, you can put your worries to rest. The most important thing is that you and your family are vaccinated and protected.
Vaccination works. Protect yourself and your family and help end the pandemic.
If you're interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine, check out the PeaceHealth Corornavirus website for answers to your questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. While you're there, you can also learn how to schedule your vaccine appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is currently free, easy to get, and most importantly, helps protect you and your family from getting seriously ill with COVID-19.