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For many of us, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 may feel like scoring big time. It can also be an emotional journey — from securing your first coronavirus vaccine appointment, to holding your breath that your appointment would not be canceled or postponed, and then finally, after waiting a few weeks for your second shot (if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine), being able to exclaim to anyone who cares to listen: “I am fully vaccinated.”

COVID Vaccination Card with a syringe

So now that you are fully vaccinated and your proof of vaccination has come in some form of a vaccination card, you may be wondering what to do with that important information.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the United States has no centralized database for immunization records and no single standard of proof for COVID-19 vaccinations.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed a vaccine card but it is not a legal requirement to use the CDC’s version of the card. In fact, state and local authorities as well as individual vaccine sites have developed their own cards for vaccine recipients.

Why the Vaccine Card Is Important

Some travel destinations and venues will require travelers or participants to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a recent negative test result for entry. If the card is not kept in a safe and handy location, it is quite possible you could lose the card, which would require additional steps to get a replacement. Just think of the vaccination card that shows your childhood immunizations — could you produce that card if asked to do so?

How to Safeguard Your Vaccination Card

Verify Your Information

Make certain the information on your card is accurate. The card should have your name and date of birth, which vaccine you received, and the date of your first and second shots. If you have only received the first shot, be sure to bring your card to the appointment for the second shot so that the second dose information can be included on the same card. Given the personal information shown on the card, it is recommended that the card not be shared on social media.

Options for Storing Your Vaccination Card

1. Original Card

Keep the original card with your other important papers such as your birth certificate, Social Security card, or passport.

2. Take a Picture of Both Sides of Your Vaccination Card

If you take and save a picture of your card on your phone, it may be a good idea to make it a “favorite” so you can easily find it and to avoid having to scroll through hundreds of other photos. You can also save the photo on a cloud storage site such as Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc. Make sure that your phone and cloud storage are properly secured to prevent easy access by an unauthorized party.

3. Paper Copies

You may also wish to make several paper copies of your card to keep as backup. You might also give one copy to your primary health care provider if you received your vaccine at a different location.

4. Lamination

Some stores are offering to laminate vaccination cards for free. While laminating your card may make it more durable if you plan to carry it around with you, it would prevent any additional information (like for booster shots) from being added. However, in that event, a new card could be issued.

5. Digital Formats

New York State has rolled out a mobile app called Excelsior Pass that allows citizens to store proof of their vaccine digitally on their smartphone and where necessary scan and validate their pass to ensure they meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry to a venue or other business location. Other states will likely follow suit and provide a similar app.

The International Air Transport Association has developed its own Travel Pass app that allows passengers to store verified COVID-19 test results and vaccine certifications on phones to facilitate easier boarding procedures on international flights. The app is expected to be available for iPhones on April 15, 2021, and later for Android phones.

Vaccine Perks and Merchandise

Some businesses are offering perks to those who bring their vaccine cards. For example, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recently announced that the company will offer a free daily doughnut through the end of 2021 at its U.S. locations to those who show their COVID-19 vaccination card.2 Super Duper Burgers also has a COVID-19 vaccine offer at its San Francisco locations.3

In these times, becoming fully vaccinated may feel like a reason to celebrate. Various vendors on Amazon and Etsy have already jumped on that bandwagon and are offering holders and sleeves for vaccine cards. Other entrepreneurs are selling “I’m vaccinated” merchandise ranging from T-shirts to face masks, stickers, and badges.  

As we return to our new normal over the coming months, your vaccination card could certainly become your ticket to activities you have missed during COVID lockdowns and as such deserves to be properly protected.


1 Julie Wernau, “Covid-19 Vaccination Cards Are the Only Proof of Shots, Soon an Essential,” The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2021,

2 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, “COVID-19 Vaccine Offer,”

3 Super Duper Burgers, “COVID-19 Vaccine Offer,”

Filed under: Life and Living

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