What should you do if you have a laminated COVID-19 vaccine card?

key takeaways

  • Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card serves as proof of vaccination and is a medical record of when and when you were vaccinated.
  • If your vaccine card is stacked or lost, you should be able to get a replacement through your vaccine provider or state health department.
  • If you are eligible for a booster, please carry your card with you – even if you have it laminated.

If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should receive a card created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This vaccine card records important information about the doses you have received.

To protect your card, you may have laminated it. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now authorized booster doses for all people 12 years of age and older who have completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.

According to the CDC, if you are 12 years or older and:

  • Completed Pfizer’s or Moderna’s lead vaccine series at least five months ago
  • received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago

Eligible individuals 18 years of age and older may choose any authorized COVID-19 booster. However, the CDC now recommends that individuals get the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine instead of the J&J vaccine due to concerns about blood clotting side effects. The J&J vaccine remains an option for those who are unable or unwilling to get a different vaccine.

Teens ages 12 to 17 who complete the Pfizer Junior Series are only eligible for Pfizer Boosters.

People 12 years of age and older with certain immunocompromised conditions and all people over 50 years of age who received an initial booster dose of mRNA at least four months ago are eligible for a second booster dose.

Adults who received the primary and booster doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago can now receive a second booster dose with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are now eligible for a booster shot, you may be wondering how to record the new dose information on the card.

“If your vaccine card is lost, laminated or otherwise damaged — no problem,” Kathleen Jordan, Tia’s senior vice president of medical affairs, told VigorTip. “All vaccine sites have the ability to make a new card for you.”

Archivists and some public health experts warn against laminating the vaccine card because it could smudge the print or damage the card over time if you want to keep it long-term. More immediately, lamination makes it difficult to update the information on the card, although there are ways around this.

Your vaccine data is on file

Although the CDC tracks how many people have been partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it does not maintain national records of who those people are and information on their doses. But your vaccine card is not the only record of your personal COVID-19 vaccination information.

Jeff Pilz, assistant director of pharmacy at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told VigorTip: “A valid record will be kept at the vaccination site, no matter what the health system or pharmacy organization may be, or the county health board.”

If you plan to get a booster, you should bring your card to the vaccination site, even if you have it laminated.

FDA authorizes COVID-19 booster shot for immunocompromised people

“If they use a sticker,” Pilz said, “they can stick it on the laminate, or they can fill out a separate CDC card and pin it or stick it to the laminate in some way. the back one.”

In some cases, the records are part of a citywide or statewide database. For example, New York City uses a system called the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR). “Vaccines must enter your vaccine data into the vaccine database within 24 hours of being vaccinated,” explains Jordan. “So, you can electronically access your vaccination records anytime 24 hours or more after your injection.”

Jordan said the CIR database helped her accurately reissue cards while working at the vaccine site.

Not all municipalities use a database like CIR. However, if you lose your card, you can call ahead of a vaccine administration site, such as a pharmacy, to see if staff can access your COVID-19 vaccination records. If they can’t, you can contact your state health department’s Immunization Information System (IIS). Vaccination providers must report COVID-19 vaccinations to IIS and related systems, the CDC said.

What to do if you lose your COVID-19 vaccine card


If after receiving your first dose, you signed up for V-safe or VaxText, you can also access information on doses and dates through these platforms. However, these tools do not serve as official vaccination records.

Kathryn Jordan, MD

If your vaccine card is lost, laminated or otherwise damaged – no problem. All vaccine sites have the ability to make a new card for you.

—Katherine Jordan, MD

Do we always need a COVID-19 vaccine card?

Even though your vaccine information should be recorded in your state’s immunization reporting system, you should keep your card as a personal record of your COVID-19 vaccine doses. Jordan, however, doubts that electronic records will become more commonplace.

“Now that one of these vaccines has been officially approved by the FDA, and more vaccination missions continue to be announced, electronic systems to support these missions will become our new normal,” she said.

FDA fully approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine


She said paper cards had been counterfeited or shared, so there was a need for a more secure way to record evidence.

“Two weeks ago in San Francisco, I had to enter my name and date of birth to trigger an SMS QR code showing my vaccination schedule, and then had to show an ID with the name that matched my QR code — all of that It’s all about joining friends. A few minutes at the local bar/restaurant,” she said.

But even in the future, when electronic format becomes the general way to display proof of vaccinations, Jordan plans to keep her card as a relic of some sort. “It will be a time-stamped souvenir to help us remember this incredible journey through the pandemic,” she said.

what does this mean to you

Don’t worry if you have a laminated COVID-19 vaccine card. If you are eligible for a booster shot, please bring this card to your appointment. You will get a new card, or the provider will add your extra dose information to your existing card via stickers or other methods.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.