COVID- vaccine

You Got Your COVID Shot: What to Do With the Vaccine Card

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — More than 147 million Americans have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and they all have the same question: What do I do with this immunization card they just handed me? Whatever you do, don’t throw it out, experts say.…

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — More than 147 million Americans have gotten a Minumum of One dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and they have the same question:

What do I do for this immunization card they just handed me?

Whatever you do, do not throw it out, specialists say.

An electronic record of your vaccination ought to be submitted with your state by individuals gave you the jab, but holding on to your paper document will likely prove invaluable.

“Since there’s so much discussion about different entities requiring evidence of vaccination, who knows how that will play out?” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “At the moment, the count is over 100 colleges and universities have informed their students that when they return in the fall they’ll have to present evidence of having been vaccinated.”

“There may be other circumstances where that comes up in the not-too-distant future, so do keep it in a safe place. You may need it in the near-term future to do this or that,” Schaffner continued.

Store your finished COVID vaccine card along with your other important documents, experts urge.

For instance, Dr. Amesh Adalja — a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore — retains his tucked into his passport, along with a really similar vaccine card for yellow fever.

Experts disagree on whether or not you ought to get the card laminated.

“Some people have laminated it, but there’s a caution: A colleague of mine tried to laminate it themselves and messed it up,” Schaffner said. “Then they had to go out and get a new card, which was a bother.”

Office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot are supplying laminate cards at no cost, but you should just have to pay a few bucks to get a card laminated at your neighborhood copy center, Schaffner said.

Schaffner and Adalja haven’t gotten their cards because more might have to be added to their personal COVID vaccine record.


“I’ve put it in a little plastic sleeve, actually in a baggie, and I’ve put it among my other safe papers. If I need it, then it will be available,” Schaffner said. “On mine, there’s space on the back for a booster if I ever need it. That’s important, and that’s one of the reasons I haven’t laminated it.”

Others state should you get your card laminated after you are fully immunized, it should not be a big deal because more complex record-keeping systems — a smartphone app, for instance — are currently in development.

“I would laminate it because by the time a booster comes along, the technology will have evolved,” Maureen Miller, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told CBS News.

All of the experts agree that snapping a pic of your completed card and storing it on your phone is a good idea, so you have a readily available copy available. If you don’t have a smartphone, keep a photocopy of the card in your pocket or handbag.

You also should be sure to notify your primary care doc that you’ve obtained the vaccine, as well as the VA or Medicare, to maintain your own personal medical record current. They might ask you to get a copy of your vaccine cardso be prepared to fax or email a copy.

But experts disagree on whether you ought to share that image on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, to share your great news and encourage others to take the jab.

“I did share it on social media in order to show people that I was vaccinated and encourage them to do the same,” Adalja explained.

However, you might want to take steps to obscure any information that may be used by identity thieves.

“I would not post it to social media with my birthday showing,” epidemiologist Danielle Ompad, a professor at the NYU School of Global Public Health, advised CBS News. “It is a unique identifier that could allow somebody to potentially steal your identity, so I would first be careful about that.”


Don’t worry if you lose your card, or if you’ve already chucked it out after completing your vaccination series. As stated before, an electronic record of your vaccination is sent to a state’s health department; inquire for a replacement.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more about state immunization data systems.

SOURCES: William Schaffner, MD, professor, Preventive Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.; Amesh Adalja, MD, senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Baltimore; CBS News

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