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What to do – and what not to do – to keep your COVID vaccination card safe

Getting it laminated isn't exactly your best bet

ST. LOUIS — The soreness in your arm will come and go, but the record of your COVID-19 vaccine should last forever. That’s why the official CDC vaccination card you get from the vaccinator is so important.

“You know that Willy Wonka ticket?” asked Dr. Michael Klevens. “It's almost like that, that magical ticket.”

The St. Luke’s network medical director of emergency services explained that really, the card is proof of when you got each dose and what shot you received. The CDC has used similar cards dating back to the polio vaccine as a way of recording vaccinations.

“I actually keep mine actually on a day-to-day basis on me, but on my phone,” said Dr. Klevens.

He said that’s a safe way to store the information without risking losing the card. Then keep your actual card somewhere secure like in a filing cabinet or lockbox at home.

If you need to take it around with you, you can keep it from getting damaged with a simple page protector or plastic sandwich bag. Anything more permanent might not be a good idea.

“If you have your card laminated, any booster shots that might happen in the future won't be on there,” said Dr. Klevens. “You'll have to get a whole other card, which isn't a big deal, but you'd rather have it all in one space.”

What if you lose your card between doses? It’s an inconvenience that could delay a second dose, but Klevens said the vaccinator can search vaccination records to find the information they need to get it to you. ShowMeVax is one tool the state of Missouri uses to keep track of doses, for example.

“Don’t drive yourself crazy [over it],” said Dr. Klevens.

Share your vaccine information with your primary care doctor to get the COVID-19 vaccine added to your medical records, but don't share a picture of your card on social media. The FTC warns that scammers could use the personal information on it against you.

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