By Maria Morava and Justin Lear | CNN
Vaccine eligibility in the US is expanding rapidly, as is the popularity of the little white card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While plans are still being developed to establish a standardized vaccination test, many keep their Covid-19 vaccine cards as a potential form of social currency.
And companies, like Staples and Office Depot, are offering to help keep them safe with free lamination.
While it may be tempting to laminate your vaccination card as soon as possible, you should take your time and make sure you have considered a few things beforehand.
Here’s what you need to know about laminating your coveted shot card.
Check your information
If you are receiving a two-dose vaccine, be sure to receive and document both doses on your card before you laminate it.
Please check all of your information, including your name, date of birth, and the date and location of the vaccination, for accuracy.
Make sure you have a backup
You should definitely create a backup copy of your card before laminating it.
Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of public health at George Washington University, told CNN that she recommends taking a photo of the card after each dose.
“Take a photo after the first shot, then also after the second, in case you lose the physical card,” he said. “Save the photo to your phone and email a copy to be safe.”
Wen said he also recommends photocopying the card and keeping it in the same place as other important documents, such as his birth certificate.
After this, if you want to laminate your card, Wen says “go ahead.”
Know what to do if your card is damaged or lost
There is concern that the lamination process could damage the cards, smear the ink, or make it unreadable.
But even if your card is damaged in the lamination process, there are options.
In case of damage or loss of your card, you will need to contact your vaccine provider to obtain another one.
If you are having trouble communicating with your provider, you can visit the CDC directory of immunization information systems (IIS) from the state department of health.
While the CDC itself does not have immunization record information, providers must report immunizations to the respective IIS or registry in their state. Contact the phone number or email address in your state to access your record and get your new card.
Proof is the most important thing, laminated or not
Some worry that laminating their vaccine cards will cause problems down the road if booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine are needed.
Still, Wen says not to worry.
“If you end up getting a booster later, you can always get a different card,” he said. “I wouldn’t let that be an impediment.”
Ultimately, what trumps all is proof, laminated or not.
“Lamination is not necessary if you also follow all the steps above,” Wen said. “The key is to have an easily accessible proof of vaccination.”
As long as you have your card, you are in a good place. Just remember not to share it on social media.
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