More than a year ago, when Covid-19 vaccines became available and shots started going into guns, some people took pride in showing off a bandaged shoulder and a white Covid-19 vaccination card.
But as the coronavirus pandemic continued and the bandages came off, some people simply lost track of those clunky 4.25 x 3.5-inch white cards.
And now you might really need yours.
But what if you lose it?
Many health services can provide you with your vaccination information. The recordings themselves are not lost.
But if you’re hoping to use that card to prove your vaccination status at work or, say, to travel to one of these countries with a more digital approach to record keeping, losing it can make it more difficult for you to participate. in these markers of everyday life like being around other people. Here’s what to do.
Your vaccination records may be on your phone.
You might be lucky enough to live in one of the states that allow people to access their immunization records from their smartphones. These states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Dakota North, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
Other states have websites where vaccination information can be requested, usually as a PDF file or via email. These states include Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
Things get a bit trickier if you’re in one of the states that unfortunately haven’t gone digital.
Could your doctor give you another card?
It depends. Your doctor could be able have additional white cards issued by the CDC. But they should at least have a record of when and where you received your vaccine injection(s) and your booster(s). Ask them.
And most states require healthcare providers who administer vaccines to record this information with state health officials. Thus, public health officials should also have this information.
But no, the CDC will not send you another one.
It wasn’t really the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that gave you that card with its logo on it. The agency supplies them to state health departments, which in turn donate them to local vaccine suppliers. These local providers give them to people when they get vaccinated. So don’t call your friend’s cousin who works there to ask a favor.
I was vaccinated at CVS. Or Walmart. Or Walgreens. Can they replace my card?
CV: A vaccination record is available for patients through the CVS Pharmacy app or on the company’s website, a spokesperson said. A pharmacy employee can print a paper record for you, the spokesperson said.
Walgreens: The company keeps records of all vaccinations administered by its pharmacies, according to a spokeswoman. If patients lose their physical card, they are encouraged to contact their pharmacy to get a new one, the spokeswoman said.
Walmart: If you were vaccinated at a store or at one of its sponsored events, Walmart can verify your information and connect to your state’s vaccination registry. Once this is complete, Walmart will reissue a vaccine card to reflect the doses administered at Walmart, a spokeswoman said in a statement. The company can also provide this information digitally or via a QR code.
It’s so complicated.
It’s definitely easier in some places than others. These CDC cards are too large to fit in a wallet, making them unwieldy and, arguably, susceptible to being moved around. This is one of the reasons many states have taken a more digital approach.
In New York, for example, you can go to the city’s Department of Health website and get immunization records, a department spokesperson told me.
Getting records from the city’s site, My Vaccine Record, is pretty quick. I typed in some biographical information and within seconds I got my vaccination history. It was three pages, so I can’t hang it all on my fridge.
The coronavirus pandemic: essential things to know
Some apps work primarily as digital wallets, a place to store information on your phone until you need to show it to someone. Others have additional features, such as the ability to schedule Covid tests and receive alerts about potential nearby exposures.
The New York State Excelsior Pass Plus app can view test results and immunization records. The free app can be downloaded here.
Outside of the United States, many countries have taken a more streamlined approach. In Britain, the National Health Service displays a QR code for fully vaccinated residents. Similarly, members of the European Union issue a digital Covid certificate showing that a person is vaccinated, has tested negative or has recovered from Covid-19.
Once you get your recordings, save them!
Many places that require proof of vaccination will accept a photo of your Covid-19 vaccination record. So once you get it, photograph it. Just make sure it’s on point.
(But, uh, don’t put it on your Instagram account.)
And if you received a QR code with your vaccination record, you can store it in your iPhone’s digital wallet (with iOS 15). These are harder to lose!
There are also apps from Clear, Common Pass, Docket, and IBM that can help you track your immunization record.
Please do not buy, borrow or create your own vaccination card.
As with driver’s licenses and passports, there are heavy penalties for misrepresenting your vaccination records. Don’t be that guy. Or this guy. Or this guy. Or these guys.