Blue Shield of California
COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

B2B General

April 19, 2021 - 4 min read

Vaccine verification cards — the requirements, the scams, and the future thereof

Important reminders as more people get their shots

For many receiving (or administering) a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s a moment of joy and celebration. Once immunized, individuals receive a proof of vaccination card – a great symbol of progress after a challenging year. While friends and family play an important role in advocating for vaccinations, we’re reminding our employer groups and members that it’s okay to share a vaccination story on social media – just not a vaccine card.

If a vaccination card, or “passport,” is shared on social media, it contains the personal information scammers need to create forged vaccine documents or commit identity theft. Now, the threat of fraud is growing as news of required vaccination documentation at public events and digital passport apps make national headlines.

The digital passport apps have been the topic of national discussions and rumors, with New York state launching their own version, though no national front runner has emerged. More conspicuous are reports of entertainment venues and restaurants across the country requiring proof of immunization against COVID-19. With these requirements, we’re seeing an increase in cheap, fake vaccination documents for sale online.

To date, the government doesn’t plan to issue uniform vaccination cards or keep a national data registry of vaccinated citizens. Both California Governor Gavin Newsome and president Joe Biden stated they will not require proof of vaccination for social gatherings.

For employees wondering about showing a vaccine passport at social events, they can look at headlines the San Francisco Giants baseball team made recently by requiring proof of immunization or a negative COVID-19 test (within the last 72 hours) for fans to attend their opening day game. However, UC San Francisco professor of Dr. Monica Gandhi told the San Jose Mercury News:

“I think it’s more of a one-off. I think San Francisco is being very cautious right now, but the requirement is probably going to go away. Requiring masking and seating people in small groups is enough. The testing adds little to that.”

Still, the concern with scammers illegally creating and selling fake documents, as with vaccine line-jumpers, has the potential to prolong the pandemic and put communities at risk. Although we’ve had some good news lately, vaccine hesitancy remains steady at about 23% of U.S adults and some areas of the country have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases; a reminder that we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Once members have their vaccination card, here are some practical tips:

  • Vaccine cards should not be laminated after the first dose as this can present challenges when going back for round two.

  • Take a picture or scan of the car, keeping the original in a safe place.

  • If a vaccine card gets lost before the second dose, show up to the appointment and ask for a replacement card at the appointment.

  • All information should be stored in the system at the vaccination site, so losing the card should not prevent anyone from getting the second dose.

Employers considering vaccination requirements for their employees, customers, or vendors should first consult with their legal counsel. Along with ensuring employee safety when considering a vaccination policy and digital passport app vendors, employers should also consider employee privacy and information security.

Blue Shield continues to encourage members to get vaccinated and keep up the safety protocols that have now become part of our daily routine. Employers, brokers, and members can stay up to date with the latest health news from Blue Shield by visiting our News Center or get updates in your inbox by subscribing today.

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