With the rapid reopening of California and companies requiring more and more vaccine testing by employees and customers, it’s time to remember where you kept your precious COVID-19 vaccination card. It could soon become a necessary second ticket for sporting events, international travel and a return to a certain appearance of normalcy. So what if you lost it (or the dog ate it) or maybe you never got a card? Now what?
Here’s what you need to know about getting a new vaccine card, where to store it, and more.
Q: I lost my vaccine card. Can I get a new one?
A: Yes, don’t be scared. You can get another card or something just as good (we’ll explain in a second). This little piece of white paper they handed you is important, but it’s not the only record of your vaccination status.
Q: How do I get a new card?
A: First, try contacting the place where you were vaccinated to get a replacement. Start with the place where you got your second shot if you had doses in two different places, for example, do one at CVS and do two at Walgreens.
Some sites will provide you with a replacement card and others will provide you with a record of your vaccine, which does not necessarily appear on a small white card. But it’s okay. What you are really looking for is the possibility of presenting evidence that inoculates you against coronavirus.
For anyone who has received CVS, your vaccination record is available at the pharmacy or for printing in the CVS Pharmacy app and online. Walgreens is also working on developing a digital vaccine card and dose locator.
Q. What if my health care provider where I was vaccinated cannot provide me with a new card or record?
A. You have other options. A California Department of Public Health spokesman recommends contacting your local public health department to request registration. You can find your county phone number online. People who were vaccinated in Santa Clara County, for example, will be able to get a replacement card at any of the county’s mass vaccination sites, such as Levi’s Stadium and Gilroy High School.
Another option is to contact the state. Californians can call 800-578-7889 for immunization information or to fill out an online form. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the contact information for each state.
Q: How does the state know that I have been vaccinated?
A: The state maintains a secure and confidential immunization information system for residents, which should include a record of your coronavirus vaccines. If you ask the state for your vaccination record, you will not get a replacement white card, but a record of all your registered vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Q: I lost the card before the second dose. What should I do?
A: Don’t miss the second dose appointment just because you can’t find the card. Go to the appointment. They should be able to check your registration and get you a new card.
Q: What do I do with my card after I get vaccinated?
A: First, take photos (front and back) and email them to yourself. You can also make a copy and keep the card and copy it with your important documents. Most healthcare experts warn you not to carry it on a daily basis, as it is not exactly a robust document. If you need it for something specific, you can bring it.
George Rutherford, an infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco, stapled the vaccination card to his passport, next to the yellow fever card.
“Whenever I go to a place where I have to show it, like a basketball game, for example, I take it,” Rutherford said. “Don’t keep it in your wallet and pull it out and take it out a thousand times.”
Some people have laminated their cards to keep them safe. But be careful. Some health care providers warn people not to laminate cards in case we need them in the future to take reinforcing photographs and because lamination can damage the ink. If you really want to laminate something, Santa Clara County recommends laminating a photocopy of the original card.
Jonathan Lee, chief physician at Sutter West Bay Medical Group, suggests putting the card in a waterproof case.
“Actually, I just bought some from Amazon,” Lee said. “I have one for each member of my family, and it cost five dollars to get five of these little zipped plastic sleeves. They are waterproof and we will keep them together with our family’s valuables. “
Q: I never want to carry my card. Is there any kind of digital vaccine passport you can use?
Not here. New York has something called Excelsior Pass, which is a downloadable app that shows if someone has been completely vaccinated. New Yorkers can use it to participate in concerts and baseball games. But California has no Golden State equivalent and there are no plans for a national pass.
It is clear that the company working with airports to help members achieve safety more quickly is working on a validation of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will allow you to link to your health care account to confirm your status. vaccination.
John Swartzberg, Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, has been consulting with several companies that are “extremely interested in some kind of documentation for their employees about who is vaccinated because that would take a long time to ensure workplace safety, ”he said. He would like to see how the federal government or the state created a passport, rather than partially considering the current reality.
Q. How bad should I feel if I lost such an important medical document?
Swartzberg is the first to admit it: even doctors lose it.
“I just threw out my card,” said Swartzberg, a doctor for more than 50 years. “I didn’t even think about it, in January after receiving my second shot. My wife called me. “
But he was able to get his Sutter Health and state record.
“I would keep you on your card so you don’t go through the hassle of what I did and so you have the documentation in case there’s any reason the state didn’t receive the information that vaccinated you,” Swartzberg said. . “But I also want to reassure myself that even if you don’t have the card, there’s a way to find documentation about your vaccination.”