VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — If you’ve gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should also have received a card to prove it.
Experts say that piece of paper is very important as we try to move on from the pandemic and get back to normal. There is no official guidance on what to do with your vaccine card, but local health experts offer suggestions to keep it safe.
“You need to keep your card,” said Laurie Shaw, nurse manager senior for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health.
As summer approaches and more people are getting vaccinated, venues and events are returning. Shaw said people will want to be able to show proof of vaccination, especially as some industries mull vaccine requirements.
“That is your personal health record of what’s occurred,” she said.
The card shows your name, date of birth, what kind of vaccine you received, and when and where shots were administered.
There’s a trend right now of people taking photos and posting them on social media. However, the Better Business Bureau recommends people refrain because it can get expose personal information and there have been reported cases of scammers making fraudulent cards.
So what should you do?
Shaw advises taking a picture of the card with your cell phone. You can keep the picture on your device or email it to yourself for your own records.
“If you don’t have a phone, have someone take a copy of it and put it in a safe place like you do with all your other important records,” she said.
She recommends keeping the card in a safe place at home, or you can keep it with you in a wallet.
What about laminating it?
A lot of people are doing this, and some businesses, including Office Depot, offer to laminate vaccine cards for free.
But Shaw doesn’t recommend that.
“Because it doesn’t allow us to put the boosters on there,” she said. “It doesn’t allow us to put the second shot on there.”
If you lose your card, Shaw said don’t worry. All vaccination information is kept in a statewide system and vaccinated people should be able to return to the location where their shot was administered or contact their health district to get a new card.
“So it’s not like you can’t get that card replaced,” she said. “But if you’re going to be traveling, you do want to make sure that you keep that card with you.”
Shaw also said the health department strongly encourages people who have not been vaccinated and who want a shot to pre-register. She is worried many people are delaying registration for a later date, but she advises signing up now while large clinics are still running.