Once you have received your coronavirus vaccination, you have completed an important medical step for protecting yourself and your community. In addition to peace of mind and a sore arm, you will receive a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that carries the seal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since your proof of vaccination is just a paper card that would not survive a mistaken cycle in the wash, experts recommend making a digital copy. “First, take a picture of it, both sides, and then write down the lot numbers in a good place because that is going to be important information at some point,” says Tom Frieden, a former head of the CDC.
Drug companies routinely keep track of medications made at the same time at the same facility using batch or lot numbers. Such identifying numbers allow the manufacturers to track expiration dates, and to better trace and coordinate a response if contamination or other problems are detected. A number of organizations and coalitions are putting together digital apps to let you prove that you’ve been vaccinated, though you may need more than one app.
If you feel safer with a more solid card, several office supply stores will laminate the paper certificates for free, including Office Depot. If you are getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, do not laminate your card until after the information from your second shot is recorded on it.
The CDC says that those who have been fully vaccinated can travel safely in the United States, but should continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and wash or sanitize their hands frequently.
If you lose your card, it can be replaced because both the pharmacy or entity that gave the vaccination and your state keep track of immunizations. If you lose the card while in a different city and cannot get the replacement card from the original source, The local public health department may have this information if the vaccinated individual is unable to locate it through the provider or clinic.
Military veterans vaccinated at facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs can access their COVID-19 vaccine records through MyHealtheVet, the agency’s online personal health record system.
You can check prior to your departure on this CDC travel planner, which has links to every state. The CDC also maintains a list of different state health department immunization registries and contact details.
New Jersey will not currently require a COVID-19 vaccine passport, but The FBI and CDC say that fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are a growing problem. Under a new bill in the New Jersey Legislature, creating a fake COVID vaccine card will become a crime punishable by up to 5-10 years in prison. Simply possessing one would be punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. There will also be penalties for buying fake vaccine cards.