5 Things You Need to Know About Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card

Your COVID-19 vaccination card should be stored in a safe place.
Your COVID-19 vaccination card should be stored in a safe place. / Bill Oxford/iStock via Getty Images

Recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers offered fans attending a game at Dodger Stadium the option of sitting in a “vaccination zone,” a 500-seat section reserved for those ticket holders who could provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by flashing their vaccination card. The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres have introduced similar policies. It’s a possible hint of things to come.

Despite being a small piece of modest cardstock, the COVID-19 vaccination card produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and distributed by vaccine sites is quickly becoming one of the most important documents a person is responsible for maintaining. The cards indicate when you received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, along with the vaccine manufacturer’s lot number.

At some point, more and more businesses and organizers of public gatherings might request you provide proof of vaccination, but that’s not the only reason this piece of paper is worth hanging on to. Take a look at some things you should know about the card.

1. You don’t need to carry your COVID-19 vaccination card around.

At present, there probably won’t be many situations where someone will request you present your vaccination card. (Unless, of course, you’re attending a Dodgers game.) Keeping it in your wallet, purse, or other storage accessory might lead to damage.

Instead, take a picture of the card on your phone (front and back). That way, you’ll be able to show it if need be while the original is in a safe place at home.

2. You shouldn’t laminate your COVID-19 vaccination card.

Although companies like OfficeMax and Staples are offering free laminating services for COVID-19 vaccination cards, it’s not the best idea. The cards typically have additional space for any future boosters that may be recommended. If your card is laminated, vaccination sites won’t be able to update the card, and you’ll then have to keep track of two cards. It might be better to buy a protective sleeve for the card that allows you to take it out when needed.

3. Don’t post your COVID-19 vaccination card on social media.

While it might be tempting to share your vaccination status online, uploading a photo of your card carries a measure of risk. In February, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning that cards bearing the name, birthday, and location of a person can make them a target for identity thieves. Scammers can use that information to try and uncover other personal data. It’s better to leave your card off your profiles, or block out identifying information.

4. You should add your COVID-19 vaccination card to your medical record.

Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered via vaccination sites, not physician’s offices, and the two aren’t in communication with one another. (One exception is pharmacies, who might be able to submit proof of your vaccination status for you.) You’ll want to notify your primary care physician's office of your vaccination status, either by bringing the card with you to your next visit or emailing or faxing them a copy they can add to your records.

5. Losing your COVID-19 vaccination card isn’t a big deal.

If you lose your vaccination card, hopefully you’ve snapped a photo of it first. But there may be situations where only the original document will do. In the event you misplace the card, first reach out to the vaccination site and tell them you’d like a replacement. With proof of identity, they should be able to hand over a new record. (If you got two doses at two different locations, try the second location.)

If that doesn’t do it, contact your state’s Department of Health, which maintains an electronic registry of vaccinations.

In the future, mobile apps or vaccine passports might provide proof of vaccination. For now, keeping that piece of paper within reach is the best way to demonstrate your vaccine status.