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June 04, 2021 - 4 min read

COVID-19 Vaccination Verification cards and emerging technologies

Proof of vaccination: the next hurdle in our return to pre-pandemic life

Once the first and most important step – becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – is completed, people can look forward to business re-openings, lifted social distancing restrictions, and travel plans. That is, in some cases, if they have proof of vaccination. As digital versions, often called passports, become available globally and governments decide what, if any, verification is required, it’s helpful to know the facts.

Verification cards and digital passports

Vaccine verification currently comes in the form of cards. Although some states or vaccination sites may use their own format of card, the most frequently distributed cards are ones distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are officially called a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. The card is filled out with a person’s name and the date, location, and which vaccine was administered.

Digital passport apps are popping up globally, in their earliest phase of development. While many companies and countries are throwing their hats in the ring, no single option or app is recognized across countries – a sign of the complexity of the issue. The U.S government and many states like California are sorting through the complicated layers of accuracy, quality, and privacy of the apps in-market.

Vaccine cards do’s and don’ts

After receiving a vaccination card, next is ensuring the card is kept safe and accessible. Keep these important tips in mind:

  • Do not laminate your original paper card
    A vaccine card contains several empty lines that may be used to document subsequent boosters of the vaccine and lamination prevents the ability to add additional information to the card. If protection is wanted, use a waterproof plastic sleeve or make a backup copy of the card and laminate it.

  • Keep it in a safe place
    Avoid carrying your vaccination card around. If a card is stored in a wallet, it can be damaged or stolen. Instead, cards should be stored somewhere safe like a passport.

  • Keep a digital copy
    Taking a picture of the front and back of a card with a person’s smartphone phone will save it to the device and likely cloud storage. Just like it’s advised to make a digital copy of your passport for access while traveling, the same applies for vaccination cards.

  • Do not share a photo of your card on social media
    Getting the vaccine is certainly something to be proud of, however, vaccine cards contain sensitive personal information and shouldn’t be shared online.

  • Know what to do if you misplaced or lost your card
    The vaccination site, the provider, or the pharmacy who administered the vaccination will have a record and can issue a new card. If the vaccination site has closed or doesn’t have the requested information on file, individuals should contact their state’s Immunization Information System, which tracks vaccinations, and request a new card.

Stay up to date with the latest COVID-19, vaccine, and health related news through our News Center and our dedicated Return to the Workplace resources.

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