More than 100 million Americans have received at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine. The proof? A 4-by-3-inch paper “vaccination record card” issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, in a post-pandemic world, that humble card for those who are fully vaccinated could become an important document used for travel, attending events, returning to the post-pandemic office, and other purposes. Here’s what experts say you should know about vaccination cards.
Photograph your registration card
The first thing experts recommend once you’ve been vaccinated is to take a digital photograph of both sides of your personal registration card. You can also scan the card and save the file to a laptop or desktop computer, said Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor at Brown University.
One thing not to do: Share your personal proof of vaccination on Facebook or other social media sites, which could lead to identity theft because the CDC card includes a person’s date of birth, as well as the name and last name.
“I wouldn’t post it on social media showing my birthday. It’s a unique identifier that could potentially allow someone to steal your identity, so I’d have to be careful about that first,” said epidemiologist Danielle Ompad, a professor at the NYU School of Health. global public, he told CBS MoneyWatch.
Rather, you may want to print a copy of the vaccination card photo and keep it in your wallet. While some experts advise against laminating the original card so that booster shots of the vaccine can be added if needed, others say it’s okay because a more sophisticated record-keeping system will likely be in place by then.
“I would laminate it because by the time a boost comes in, the technology will have evolved,” suggested Dr. Maureen Miller, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
You can get your free laminated card at the Staples Office Supply Store using code 81450 or at Office Depot under code 52516714.
Leave the original at home
Be sure to keep the original printed copy of your immunization card in a safe place; you do not need to carry it with you at all times and you risk losing it. Experts recommend keeping the original with other important documents or medical records and carrying only the digital copy.
“You don’t need to carry it around at all times at this time, unless you are traveling or doing something else where you will have to provide proof of vaccination,” Ranney said.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety, said he keeps his vaccination record in his passport (along with a card showing that he has been vaccinated against yellow fever).
Notify your primary care physician that you have received the vaccine, as you would any other vaccine. This helps healthcare providers make sure your immunization record is up to date.
What happens if I lose it?
If you lose your card, don’t panic. Each time a vaccine is given, the provider records it in the state’s immunization registry.
“Those fragile pieces of paper are not the only record of his vaccination status,” Adalja said. “People should keep the cards in a safe place to have them on hand, but it is not the end of the world if they lose them or if they go through the washing machine.”
If you lose your card, call your state health department and request a replacement.
“Right now that’s what we have as proof that you got the vaccine, but it’s not impossible to replace it,” said Dr. Christine Whelan, clinical professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
For now, Whelan said, the CDC’s plain white cards may have more symbolic value than a practical function.
“Other countries are not handing out pieces of paper like we are, and this may be a curious thing that we are doing. There is something satisfying about going away with the registration of the card copy just in case,” he said.
No universal standard yet
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said this week that the US government.for travel and other business activities. Anything that looks like a digital pass is probably he added.
Some experts regret that the government did not develop a standardized digital vaccination test earlier.
“I think the United States government should have thought of a digital application from the beginning and have it ready to activate when a person received a vaccine,” Adalja said. “Now we have to fight to find a solution that is digital and secure so that people don’t have to worry about carrying that card.”
Ideally, a person’s vaccination status would be integrated and stored with other personal travel information that is reflected in programs like Global Entry and TSA Pre Check that facilitate the process of going through airport security.
Race for digital solutions
As Fauci suggested, private companies are already developing ways for people to show that they have been vaccinated or are free of coronavirus. For example, New York authorities are testing a blockchain-powered digital health pass in partnership with computer science company IBM.
“The goal is to eventually provide New York residents with a simple, voluntary and safe method of showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination certification,” IBM said in a press release last month.
New York recently put the so-called Excelsior Pass to the test with the Brooklyn Nets in one of the National Basketball Association team’s home games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will also be tested in theaters and elsewhere as more New Yorkers get vaccinated.
“The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in bringing information to places and sites in a safe and streamlined manner, allowing us to accelerate the reopening of these businesses and move one step closer to reaching a new normal,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. it said in a statement last month.
VaxYes is another tool that provides free HIPAA compliant digital vaccine records for people inoculated. The CEO of the company, Mohammed Garber, expects that the product will initially be used more widely in the travel sector.
“I personally went through the ups and downs of getting both doses of the vaccine and the ups and downs of thinking and fearing that I had lost my card. Everyone is going to have anxiety about this card and how to protect it,” Garber said.
VaxYes has partnered with different states and organizations in the US, including Kansas, which is testing the tool to allow residents to return to shows and other events. To date, thousands of Americans have digitized their paper cards through VaxYes, according to the company.
“People are already starting to think about summer travel plans and see this as an enabler to get back to normal and resume travel activities,” Garber said. “We are very excited to be part of the solution.”