More than 202 million people in the United States are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, which is a little more than 60% of the population, and thankfully, that number is rising every day. When you get your vaccine, you also receive a card that is a record of your COVID-19 vaccination status. Your vaccine card is just a piece of paper, but it's an incredibly important one, as some parts of the U.S. are requiring proof of vaccination to partake in activities, and more companies and cities are likely to do so in the future. For example, New York City is requiring proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for indoor entertainment, recreation, dining, and fitness.
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How to Store Your Vaccine Card
Essentially, you should treat your vaccine card like a passport. You want to keep it safe and have it readily available when you need it, but that doesn't necessarily mean having it physically with you everywhere you go; it's more likely to get lost. However, like your passport, there are instances when you'll need the card with you, so keep that in mind. Here are three ways to store your card and ensures it stays safe.
1. Take a Photo of Your Vaccine Card
"The CDC has suggested that one of the easiest, and likely most overlooked, ways to help safeguard your COVID-19 vaccine card is to take a picture of it to have a digital backup," says Amber Dessellier, Ph.D., a faculty member at Walden Univesity's Ph.D. in Public Health program, who has a doctorate in public health herself. iPhone users can also scan an image of their record into their device. Go to the notes app, add a new note, and then tap the camera icon on the bottom of the screen. From there, a menu will pop up. Click the scan documents option, and scan your card into the note.
2. Buy a Protective Sleeve to Prevent Card Damage
There are plenty of affordable vaccine card cases to protect your record. Check out the Vaccination Card Protector ($7, Amazon) or the Teskyer Passport Holder ($10, Amazon), depending on the style you prefer. It might sound like a good idea, but you should not laminate your original card. "I don't recommend laminating [your card], as more records would not then be able to be added to the same card," says Rebecca Lauderdale, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Hattiesburg Clinic Comprehensive Care in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
3. Upload Your Information Electronically
Certain companies, hospitals, and apps will allow you to securely store your vaccination records. Lauderdale says that when a patient comes into her office with their vaccine card, she adds it to their electronic medical record. "That way, if the patient loses their card or it is damaged, we can recreate the record for them," she says. "It will also be available on their electronic patient portal, so that if the patient is out of town and needs immediate access to their vaccine record, they can print the information or share it electronically." She adds that because the majority of practices use electronic medical records now, your provider should be able to do this for you, too.
Other options include VaxYes, a HIPAA-compliant site that allows users to create a free vaccine passport. Just go to the VaxYes website to set up an account and enter your information to make your passport. Companies, including Walmart and Sam's Club, will store your vaccine record through a pharmacy account with the companies. CVS is also storing vaccine information for anyone who received a dose at one of its pharmacies. And some states, including California, Colorado, New Jersey, and New York, are also offering apps for residents to store their cards.
Keeping your physical vaccination card safe and storing your immunization record securely is just one part of our new normal. By following these steps, you won't have any issues protecting your document.