You now have one more object to be responsible for: a vaccination card. It’s one more item you need to keep track of, to know where it is at any given moment, to protect from the elements, to keep pristine when you need to carry it.
But your vaccine card is different from any other document you own. You know you don’t need to carry your social security card, so you keep it safely stored in a firebox – or at least in a file cabinet. You know what a pain it will be to deal with the social security office to get a new one, so you know where it is and take care of it. Your passport isn’t used daily, but you dropped $75 or more to obtain it, you had to jump through multiple hoops to receive it – the same hoops you’ll have to jump through if it’s lost or stolen – so you also take good care of it and have a specific safe place to store it. When you do need to use it, your passport holds up to wear and tear because of its fairly sturdy cover and coated inner flaps. And then there’s your driver’s license. You have it with you at all times. It’s a tough card which doesn’t tear easily, and it’s designed to fit inside your wallet.
Your vaccination card, however, is different. It’s printed on cheap cardstock which tears easily. It’s most certainly not water repellent. Your vaccine record is handwritten on there and can easily be smeared away. It’s slightly bigger than a driver’s license and does not fit into a standard wallet slot. There’s also the unknown – you don’t know when and where you might be required to show it, so you’ve probably never found a permanent home for it.
Now that the social media posts of selfies with vaccine cards have faded away, the new wave of vaccination card focus has become what to do if you lose your vaccine card – how to replace lost or destroyed vaccination cards.
If your vaccine card is lost, stolen or destroyed, follow these steps to get a replacement:
*Contact the facility where you received your vaccine. Whether it’s a national store, local pharmacy, doctor’s office, hospital or government office, they should have a record of your vaccination and be able to issue you a replacement card.
*Contact your state health department. The above step should be all you need to do, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to reach out to your state organization. Since the vaccination program was by state and locality instead of a national program, there’s not a nationwide 800 number for you to call. You’ll have to work within your state’s bureaucracy to find out who has the magic keys to your state’s vaccination database and can print out a new vaccine card for you. Here’s a list of state health departments and links to their websites.
*Google for your answer. If you type in the search term “how to replace a vaccination card in XYZ City” you’ll most likely find a web page on a government website or local newspaper’s website which will give specific steps and phone numbers for your area.
Preventive steps for caring for your vaccine card:
*Choose a specific spot in your home or office to store your vaccine card. If your locality doesn’t require showing proof of vaccination, you can keep it safely tucked away in your firebox or a file cabinet with your social security card, passport and other lesser-used, important identification documents.
*Take a photo of both sides of your card. You’ll have digital proof with you on your phone and hopefully won’t have to carry around the paper version.
*Carry it in a protective cover. You can use a baggie, a sheet protector cut down to size, or any type of thicker plastic to give that little paper document some protection against moisture and getting crumpled. Do NOT laminate it because the heat and chemicals can cause the ink to disappear. You also should not use tape as a lamination work-around because if booster shots will be required, those shots will be added to your card.
*Look into a vaccine pass. In Europe and in a few localities (as of this writing) in the United States, vaccine passes are available. They’re similar to a typical ID card and are scanned or swiped to gain access to a facility or event.
*Research a vaccine app. Some cruise lines have asked passengers to use their cruise line apps to store their vaccine card information so that it’s unnecessary to carry a card. If you are going to a specific site or will travel with a company, you can look to see if they offer or require use of their app.
The vaccination passport and app are still very controversial because questions are being asked about privacy of information, security against hacking, and infringement of individual rights, so stay tuned for much more debate. In the meantime, as you navigate new situations which might require you to show proof of vaccination, you have a springboard into your options by starting with the above ideas.
Take a few moments to safeguard your vaccination card now so you won’t have to worry about what to do if you lose your vaccine card, and you won’t lose time to looking for it or having to replace it.
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