Laminate It? Carry It? What You Should Do With Your Vaccination Record Card

Doctors say it's important to hold onto your vaccination record card, but where should you keep it? One doctor weighs in

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Once you get your coronavirus vaccine, you’re often given a COVID-19 vaccination record card, with the CDC logo in the upper right corner.

"Those vaccine cards are really important. They provide proof that you were, indeed, vaccinated," said Dr. Kiran Joshi, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The vaccination cards are so sought after, dupes of the cards are even being sold online. Security experts also warn people against posting photos of their card on social media.

Both Staples and Office Depot are offering to laminate vaccination cards for free, but some are asking if sealing the card in plastic is too permanent.

Dr. Joshi said he understand why people would want to preserve it, but the additional lines at the bottom of the card, marked "Other," are there for a reason.

"It is possible that in coming months, or coming years, there may be a need for a booster shot, and that booster shot could potentially be reported on that vaccine card. So you may want to hold off on laminating it for now," Dr. Joshi said.

Dr. Joshi believes it's best to stash the card in a safe place, but he recommends you do one thing first.

"Take a photo of it, and email that photo to yourself if you have to. You don't want to lose that. You want to keep it. It may come in handy in the near future," Dr. Joshi said.

There’s speculation that vaccination cards could be your ticket to events as society reopens, but Dr. Joshi says there is no formal plan yet.

"I don't think that there's anything that's out there at the state or federal levels that's been standardized," he said.

Dr. Joshi said every vaccination goes into a state database, so if you do lose your card, that’s where you would have to go for a replacement. He thinks it’s best to keep your card in a safe place at home until there comes a time when you may need it.

An Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman said it comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

"Whether to laminate a card, and whether to carry it with you or keep it at home is a personal preference," she said in a statement. "The CDC provider agreement for COVID-19 vaccine providers states 'Organizations must provide a completed COVID-19 vaccination record card to every COVID-19 vaccine recipient, the adult caregiver accompanying the recipient, or other legal representative. Each COVID-19 vaccine shipment will include COVID-19 vaccination record cards.'"

NBC Chicago asked the CDC what the agency recommends you do with the cards and didn’t hear back.

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