When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you should receive a white vaccination card. Many people wonder what these cards are and what they should do with them. Below are answers to common questions about these vaccine cards.
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What’s a COVID-19 Vaccine Card?
This card is a medical record of your vaccination, like your childhood immunization records. It contains important information:
- Your name.
- Your birthdate.
- Which vaccine you received (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson).
- The lot number of the vaccine.
- The date of your first dose.
- The date of your second dose (if you had one).
- Where you received your vaccine.
If you did not receive a card, you should contact the vaccination site or your state health department to request one. This card is an important record of the specific vaccine you received. If you received an mRNA vaccine, you should bring the card with you when you return for your second dose.
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Why Is This Card Important?
The COVID-19 vaccine card has several important functions:
- It lets the vaccine provider make sure you receive the correct second dose.
- It tracks the lot number of your vaccine — that is, the shipment of vaccines your shot came from. If public health officials learn something about a specific lot of vaccines, you will know if yours came from that lot.
- The card proves that you received a vaccine. It is not a legal document, but you may need it for activities that require COVID-19 vaccinations, such as travel.
It’s not clear yet if you will need your card to get a “vaccine passport.” Some states may create vaccine passports for businesses, sports events, or entertainment events that choose to require vaccination. New York has issued a vaccine passport, but some state governors have said their state will not use them.
Students may need their card to show proof of vaccination to their school or university. Some businesses may ask employees to show the card as proof of vaccination. Some countries also may require proof of vaccination to enter the country.
What Should I Do With It?
Keep your card in a safe place at home after receiving all doses of your vaccine. You can store it in a safe place with your social security card, birth certificate, and other important papers. If you have a passport, it fits nicely inside the passport for safe storage.
If you took a photo of it, make sure you can access the photo from different places. If the photo is only stored on your phone and you lose your phone, you lose the copy. You also can make photocopies of the card to store in a safe place.
Do not post your card on social media or any other public site. It contains personal information that scammers can use for identity theft. It also could provide information for people making fake cards.
Bring your card with you the next time you see your primary care provider or other regular doctors. Those providers can enter the information into your medical record.
Some people may want to laminate their card. However, if booster shots become necessary, providers may want to record the boosters on the same card. Laminating the card could make it harder to record additional shots.
What Happens If I Lose My Vaccine Card?
It’s a good idea to take a photo of your card in case you lose it. If you lose the card before your appointment for your second dose, you can get other proof of your first shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these steps:
- Contact the vaccination site where you received the vaccine to ask for a replacement. If you received your doses at different vaccine sites, experts recommend contacting the site of the second dose.
- If you cannot contact the provider who gave you the vaccine, call the state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). The contact information for each IIS is here. Vaccine sites report COVID-19 vaccinations to the state’s IIS.
- If you enrolled in V-safe or VaxText after your first dose, you can visit the website to look up your vaccine information.
- If you cannot get a copy of your vaccine information, go to your scheduled appointment and ask for help.
Allyson Chiu. All about your coronavirus vaccine card (and what to do if you lose it). Washington Post. Link
Excelsior Pass. Covid-19 Vaccine. New York State Department of Health. Link
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. If You Need a Second Shot. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link
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