NOTE: Comments have been turned off.
By Gail Marsh
As the nurse handed me my COVID-19 vaccination card, she looked me in the eye and said, “This is a legal form of identification. Protect it as such.” Huh? I’d just received my second dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine. As I walked back to my car, I examined the “proof of vaccine” card and couldn’t help but wonder about it. As a legal form of identification, the “immunity passport” must have intrinsic value. But how? So you must protect your card – from whom, and why?
An infectious disease specialist, Dr. Amesh Adalja, recently told ABC News: “What these little cards have the potential to do is to make something like international travel easier by avoiding requirements for quarantine or testing.” In other words, vaccinated folks may be able to resume at least some normal pre-COVID activities – if we can prove that we’ve been vaccinated.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the “COVID Card” or “Immunity Passport”:
- The “proof of vaccine” card has detailed information about the kind of vaccine you were given and when. If boosters are recommended in the future (possibly for variant virus strains), the card will help your health professional know if/when you need a booster shot.
- Be sure to tell your primary care physician that you’ve received a vaccine. S/he may want a copy of your “proof of immunization” for your health history file.
- You may need to provide proof of vaccination if you choose to travel (especially across international borders). In addition, you might need the “immunity passport” to get into large venues or gather in large groups (e.g., church, conferences, organized tours).
- The official CDC card is made from cardstock-type paper. However, it can easily fray, crease, and/or tear if kept in a wallet or purse. Some people recommend taking a cell phone photo of your vaccination card for easy access. Or you can use your printer to make a copy of the vaccination card to carry with you. Staples office supply stores will laminate your vaccination card for free until May 1!
Department of Health database
- Individual state departments of health (DOH) keep records of vaccine doses and the names/dates people received their shots. If you lose your proof of vaccination card, go back to where you received your immunization. Or you can contact the DOH in the state you received the vaccine. Ask for a replacement card from either location.
- Why a DOH database? Vaccine manufacturers are hoping to use the vaccine database information to help track the effectiveness of their vaccines. But some folks worry that this collection of health data is a threat to personal health privacy. Hmmm …
- At this point no official COVID “Vaccination Passport” has been put into place in the United States. However, a “digital vaccine passport for travelers is already in its final stages of development by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline trade association representing 290 airlines worldwide,” according to Healthline.com. COVID hit the airline industry, among others, hard. It is searching for ways to reassure travelers that it is safe to travel if you’ve been vaccinated.
- Individual countries are taking steps to issue their own “immunity passports.” Some of those take the form of QR codes, vaccination apps, or microchipped vaccination cards that store vaccination records. However, collection and storage of vaccine data raises privacy concerns for many people. What do you think?
Store your vaccination card safely
- Officials recommend you keep your original proof of vaccination card in a safe and secure place. A suggestion would be to keep it where you store your social security card or passport.
- It should be no surprise that fake “proof of vaccine” cards already have been making the rounds. Just like any forged document, falsified “proof of vaccine” cards can be purchased online. That’s a good enough reason for me to protect my card. How about you?