Staples will laminate your vaccine card for free. Here’s why it’s important to keep it

·4 min read

Staples is making it a little easier for those who’ve been fully vaccinated to keep their COVID-19 vaccine cards safe and sound.

The office supply retailer will laminate COVID-19 vaccine cards for free through May 1 at stores nationwide, a representative for Staples told McClatchy News.

The offer is good through May 1, a representative for Staples told McClatchy.
The offer is good through May 1, a representative for Staples told McClatchy.

Laminations are limited to one per customer and aren’t eligible on Instacart orders. Cards should only be laminated after the cardholder has been fully vaccinated.

A laminated card could become useful in the future, such as for travel and employment.

What’s a vaccination card?

You should receive a vaccination card at your first vaccine appointment. It lists which of the three emergency-authorized vaccines you received, where you received it and the date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The agency has also referred to the cards as “second-dose reminders” since the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both require two doses, about a month apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is single dose.

Lamination shouldn’t the hurt the card, Staples told WUSA, but if the card “has stickers that were printed using a thermal printer” then “the heat used during the lamination process will turn the sticker black and ruin it,” Staples said.

You can tell if a sticker is thermal by scratching it with your fingernail, according to WUSA.

If it turns black, it’s thermal and you should avoid lamination. Instead, try making a photocopy of the card and laminating that instead.

What to do with your vaccine card

The CDC recommends keeping your card as proof of vaccination in case you need it in the future.

If you lose your card, it can likely be replaced, but ABC News points out it’s wise to be extra vigilant since the nation’s health care systems are overextended.

What happens if you lose your COVID vaccine record card? CDC offers other options

Try going back to the facility where you received vaccine to get a replacement card, Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told ABC.

Your local public health department or state department of health should also have a record of your immunization.

It’s recommended that you keep your card in a dry and secure place, perhaps with other important documents such as your passport and Social Security card — there’s no need to carry it with you, Jeffrey Pilz, pharmacy manger at Ohio State University, wrote.

He also suggests taking a photo of the card to keep on your phone. Just be sure not to post an image of your card to social media — it has sensitive personal information.

How could vaccine cards be used in the future?

Experts say the cards could be used down the line to streamline certain activities such as travel.

“What these little cards have the potential to do is to make something like international travel easier by avoiding requirements for quarantine or testing,” Adalja told ABC.

Details about how so-called “vaccine passports” would work — and their relationship to vaccine cards — are still up in the air, though the travel industry has voiced its support for that kind of documentation, USA Today reported.

“I think we’re all making assumptions on the card and what future purposes it could have,” Allison Guste, assistant vice president of Clinical and Operational Excellence in Louisiana, told WWL.

“What we do know is that many countries for international travel are requiring COVID testing, and so documentation of your testing and documentation of your antibody status is being requested already, and so we make assumptions based on that knowledge that future immunizations will be required as well.”

The card could also be used to prove your vaccination status to future employers, Pilz said.

Information on the card — such as which vaccine and the lot number — may be useful down the line if booster shots are required, he added.

Experts also say proof of vaccination could also be required for other common activities.

“Whether it’s school, entertainment venues or travel, there’s going to be an expectation that to resume these activities you have to be retested and enter quarantine or produce proof of immunization,” John Brownstein, epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC.

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