More than a dozen states are opening up the COVID-19 vaccination to all adults this week, which means more Americans may soon be receiving some form of vaccination card – and wondering where they should keep it.
You see, the three-by-four-inch paper vaccination card designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is too big for most wallets, not to mention the standard credit card pockets sewn into wallets and bags. by hand. So questions about how to keep your immunization card safe and whether you should laminate it have been raised online.
Enterprising Suppliers on Etsy ETSY,
and Amazon AMZN,
already sell vaccination card holders and pouches, some of which are attached to decorative cords. And retailers like OfficeMax and Office Depot, as well as Staples, offer free no-purchase lamination services for those who want to protect their vaccine cards. (Plus, the “I’m Vaccinated” merchandise also gives Etsy sellers another chance to make a profit.)
“I get asked more and more questions about this as more and more people get vaccinated, and they’re starting to see the vaccination requirements to go to a sporting event or to travel.” , Dr Arthur Caplan, director of the medical ethics division at NYU Langone, told MarketWatch.
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The United States does not have a central database for vaccinations, reports the Wall Street Journal, and there is no standard evidence for COVID-19 vaccinations. In fact, COVID vaccination cards aren’t necessarily uniform, as some states and local authorities issue their own cards rather than using the CDC’s version. So this means that your vaccination card is the only physical proof that you have received your vaccine (s) at the moment, and you will want to take good care of it.
Caplan said he started telling people to laminate their cards two months ago. “Knowing who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be crucial in the coming months,” he said, “and it will be absolutely crucial for attending events, traveling, maybe even commuting to work. ”
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And while some people have expressed concern that laminating vaccine cards now could create problems if you need a COVID vaccine booster on the road, Caplan has dismissed those concerns. “If you get a booster, you’ll probably get a new card anyway,” he says.
But health experts told MarketWatch that there are some things you should do before rushing to have your vaccination card laminated, if you choose to go that route rather than buying a sleeve or a sleeve. strap.
Make sure the information on your vaccination card is correct
Make sure your name and date of birth are correct and that the card shows the vaccine you received and the correct date and location. “On your first date, if something goes wrong, make sure they write down the correct information before you go,” said Caplan. If you get a two-dose vaccine, you also want to make sure you get the correct vaccine at your second appointment.
If you do not receive a vaccination card, the CDC suggests that you contact the site of the vaccination provider where you were vaccinated, or your state health department, to find out how you can obtain a card.
Ask where your vaccination record is kept
“You want to know where this information is digitally stored, in case you lose your card,” Caplan explained. Ask someone from your vaccination location and if for some reason they cannot tell you, you can also try checking your health department’s Immunization Information System (ISS). The CDC notes that some places may also sign up for online tools such as V-safe or VaxText after your first dose, where you can also access your vaccination information.
Photograph both sides of your vaccination card and email the photos to yourself
If you have a camera phone, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of public health at George Washington University, recommends that you take a photo of both sides of your vaccine card as soon as possible and mark it as “Favorite” in your phone’s photo album. one way or another, or perhaps by storing the images in a mobile wallet. “I also emailed the photos to myself,” she said, “just to make sure there was another copy. ”
If you don’t have a camera phone, take a photo of the card with a camera when you get home. Store these images in a safe place, including emailing them to you.
Make a hard copy of both sides of your vaccination card
On a related note, make a hard copy of your vaccination card – perhaps at one of the retailers where you have it laminated, if you choose to go that route. “When it comes to something like your COVID vaccination, you want to have that documentation handy,” Wen said. “That’s why having multiple copies available in different ways is a wise choice.”
Do not laminate your card until you have received your second dose, if it is a two-dose vaccine.
The health workers at your vaccination site will write the details of your second dose on this card, if you are receiving Pfizer PFE,
or Modern MRNA,
vaccines, so you’ll want to wait until you’ve received both vaccines and confirmed that the information for both is correct on your card before you laminate it. If you get the Johnson & Johnson JNJ one-shot,
vaccine, you can go ahead and laminate it if you want after your single dose – although you should go through the list above first.
None of the medical professionals MarketWatch spoke to, nor the CDC, expressed concern about the lamination of the cards. It should be noted, however, that medical advice is always subject to change as we get more information or as new policies are put in place. Caplan and Wen both said you’d probably get another map if you needed a boost.
These healthcare professionals and the CDC also offered advice on where to keep your card, as well as what to do if your vaccine card is lost or damaged.
What if my vaccine card is lost or damaged?
Contact the place where you received your vaccine to access your vaccination record and obtain another card.
If you cannot contact your vaccine supplier for some reason, contact the Immunization Information System (IIS) in your health department. You can find IIS status information on the CDC website. The CDC notes that vaccine suppliers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems, so the state should have a record of your vaccination.
And if you signed up for V-safe or VaxText after your first dose of vaccine, if you receive one of the two-dose vaccines, you can access your immunization information using these tools.
Should I keep my vaccination card in my wallet or have it with me at all times?
Neither Wen nor Caplan think you need to keep your COVID vaccination card with you just yet, as so many people are still unvaccinated. “Put it in the same place as all of your other important documents – your passport, your birth certificate,” Wen suggested. “There is no reason for you to take it everywhere with you, especially if you have a digital copy on your phone. There are still not really enough people who have been vaccinated, as facilities still have proof of vaccination requirements in place.
“Right now, you don’t have to wear it when you’re away,” Caplan nodded. “I think in the future, if you’re going to a Broadway show or sporting event, you’re going to need it.” If similar to something like a passport or birth certificate, you’ll just want to bring your card with you for special occasions – or to hang up a free Krispy Kreme donut until the end of the year.
Keep in mind that these tips may be subject to change, however. And it’s also possible that you can prove that you’ve been vaccinated through an app, such as the Excelsior Digital Pass being rolled out in New York City. The state compares it to an airline mobile boarding pass, but to prove that you received a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test.