Lost your COVID vaccine card? Don't worry, Chicago's top health official says - there are other ways you can get and show proof that you've been vaccinated.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday that the question of what to do if you've lost your COVID-19 vaccination record card is the city's "number one question" of its frequently asked questions.
Given at the time of the first vaccine dose, the card has a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo in the upper right corner and space to fill in information like the location of your first and second doses, as well as additional lines.
"Those vaccine cards are really important. They provide proof that you were, indeed, vaccinated," Dr. Kiran Joshi, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health, previously said.
But if you've lost your card, you have options, Arwady said - though the options don't include a way to get a new card.
"A couple things: Number one, you can go back to your provider," Arwady said. "So if you've got it at your doctor's office, if you got it at your pharmacist, they're not going to give you a new card. Those are held tightly, but they will give you a printout and something that will be valid, where you are needing to show your proof."
"You can also email COVID19vaccine@cityofchicago.org," Arwady continued.
"If you got vaccinated through a city of Chicago site or at the United Center, we will, again, send you a PDF of your proof of vaccination, or if you got vaccinated somewhere else, it is recorded in the state registry, we will look that up for you and get you those results," she added.
Arwady noted that the state of Illinois is working on a way for residents to be able to securely access their own vaccination records to eliminate the need for health officials and other third-parties to serve as intermediaries.
"That vaccine card, of course, is your own proof, but more importantly - in a secure way that is only shared with public health - that record is there and it remains valid for if you need to show proof," Arwady said.
While some companies have offered to laminate the cards, experts have warned that the additional lines may need to be filled in the future.
"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," Joshi said.
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.
An Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman previously said that how you preserve and store your card 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.'"