Vaccination Cards: What Are They Good For?
BY KATIE CAVENDER
At a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, you’ll receive a white paper vaccination card along with your shot. The card includes your name, the location of your vaccination and the kind of shot you received. But many people are wondering – what am I supposed to do with this thing?
“The idea of having proof of immunization makes sense, but that's not the intent of those cards,” says Alex Benjamin, MD, LVHN Chief Infection Control and Prevention Officer. “No one has said you must have that card to prove that you've been vaccinated.” The card acts more as a receipt than a legal document.
What should I do with my COVID-19 vaccine card?
It’s possible that booster shots will be needed for COVID-19 vaccines and that may be recorded on your vaccine card. “For that reason, it’s been recommended that people not laminate the cards,” Benjamin says. “But it’s important to remember that there's nothing sacred about the cards.” Even if you’ve lost your card or laminated it, you will still be able to receive a booster shot. To err on the side of caution, Benjamin recommends taking a picture and saving the image on your smartphone. “If you are worried about losing the card or think you may need it, taking a picture will allow you to access it easily.”
What if I lose my COVID-19 vaccine card?
In short, it’s OK if you lose your card. Depending on where you received your vaccine, there are different ways that your provider can gain access to information about your vaccination.
I received a vaccine at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) – If you received your vaccine at LVHN, any provider in the health network will be able to see it on your medical record.
You also can view immunization records on MyLVHN. After logging in to your account, click “Menu,” select “Health Summary” and then click on the “Immunization” tab. You will see a list of your immunizations here. To print this, you will need to log in to MyLVHN.org (rather than the app) and print from the web version.
I received a vaccine with an organization in Pennsylvania that is not affiliated with my provider – If you received the shot with an organization in Pennsylvania that is not affiliated with your provider, your provider can find that information quickly using a database called Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS). PA-SIIS is an immunization registry managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and collects vaccination history information.
I received a vaccine from an out-of-state organization that is not affiliated with my provider – This is an instance when having a vaccination card could be useful. You can show it to your provider to verify the type of vaccination you received and the date of your vaccination. If you do not have your card, you can request the organization that provided your vaccine submit medical records to your provider.
Will I need my vaccine card for travel?
“There is talk about vaccination being required for travel, but the vaccine card was not meant to be a passport,” Benjamin says. “They’re too easily duplicated.” If vaccination becomes required for travel or other activities, there will need to be another way to verify someone’s vaccination status. For example, the European Union proposed a Digital Green Certificate that would provide each person a unique QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the certificate.
To learn more about vaccines, visit LVHN.org/VaccineFAQs.