We can finally throw away our COVID-19 vaccination cards: What you need to know
Not only are vaccination cards no longer needed to track vaccinations or confirm vaccination status, but they are also no longer issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. So if you can’t find yours, don’t worry. And if you still have it on hand, tuck it away to give to your grandchildren as a memento of how you survived the pandemic. Lifehacker explained why the card is no longer needed.
How to keep track of COVID-19 vaccines without a vaccination card
Keeping track of vaccines has become much easier, so cards are no longer needed. If you got the COVID-19 vaccine when they first came out, you probably remember timing your first and second doses (three weeks for Pfizer, four for Moderna) and then counting down the weeks until your third shot (if you have weakened immune system) and months before you should get a booster vaccination.
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Now these rules have been canceled. Most people just need one dose of the new vaccine and that’s it. There are only a few exceptions to this rule:
- Children under 5 years of age may need more than one dose, depending on which vaccine they receive and whether they have previously had a COVID-19 vaccine;
- People who are immunocompromised may benefit from receiving an extra dose of the vaccine; the CDC offers more information here.
If you have recently had COVID-19, you can (if you wish) delay your next vaccination by three months. There is no need to delay getting vaccinated, but you probably have some protection because your immune system has recently fought off the virus, so you can count on it for a short time.
How to find out about your previous vaccinations
If you don’t have a card, you can track your previous vaccinations the same way you would for a flu shot or any other vaccine: your doctor will track it in your medical record.
If you received the vaccine at a pharmacy, the pharmacy will keep a record of it. If you received the vaccine through your regular doctor, your doctor will have an appointment. If your doctor uses an app like MyChart to share test results and medical records, your vaccination record is likely in there somewhere. If you searched and couldn’t find it, ask your doctor for this information. And if you can’t remember where you got your shot, some states have an immunization database that may contain your records.
By the way, although it is illegal to falsify a CDC vaccination card, there is nothing stopping you from writing down vaccination dates on a card or piece of paper, as parents often do when vaccinating their children. If you don’t put the CDC stamp on it, it’s just a piece of paper.
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