En español | Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is fast becoming a necessity, with talk of booster shots on the horizon and vaccine requirements affecting many aspects of day-to-day life — from dining out to working in an office. But what if you've lost that awkwardly shaped white card — it doesn't quite fit in a standard wallet — or never got one in the first place?
Luckily, most vaccine providers and state health departments have already put in place measures to help you get a new one, or at least obtain a digital record of your vaccination.
Step one: Check and see if your vaccine provider, be it a retail pharmacy or a health department, allows you to access your vaccine records online.
"If a patient misplaces their vaccine record, they have several options,” says CVS Pharmacy retail communications manager Matt Blanchette. CVS allows customers to look up their vaccine records by logging into the CVS website or the CVS app (you'll have to download it and create an account).
What's more, Blanchette says you can call the CVS location where you were vaccinated and request a record of your vaccination. “Any CVS pharmacy team member can print a vaccine record reflecting the date of administration and vaccine administered,” he adds.
Walgreens can also verify patient COVID-19 vaccination status if need be, including providing electronic copies of COVID-19 dose cards, according to a spokesperson for the retailer.
It's likely other pharmacies and health clinics will do the same, or will at least point you in the right direction when you call.
And don't forget to check your email. If you signed up for your shot online and provided an email address, Blanchette says, a vaccine record is automatically sent to that address post-vaccination.
Immunizations are also reported to the appropriate state health department's Immunization Information System (IIS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has IIS records for all 50 states listed online, where you can look up and obtain a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination records after verifying some personal information.
A record of your COVID-19 vaccination should be relatively easy to obtain by going back to the place where you got vaccinated. But if you really want that physical card issued by the CDC, which does not provide replacement cards, you may have better luck contacting your state health department, either by phone or email.
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All states should have a digital record of their vaccinations, and some, but not all, will send out another physical card. West Virginia, for example, has set up a website where you can apply to get a replacement COVID-19 vaccine card sent to you via the mail.
Once you've gotten a new card or a digital record of your vaccination, be sure to store it safely. Among the easiest ways is to take a picture of your card with your smartphone. Experts and officials warn against posting it on social media to avoid exposing personal information and setting yourself up for possible identity theft. You can also make a copy of your card or a digital printout and store it where you keep other important papers.
Finally, resist the urge to laminate your card so it can be used to record your second shot — or possible boosters.