Farewell to COVID Cards: Navigating a Shift in Vaccination Record Access

05.10.2023 posted by Admin

Bid farewell to your COVID-19 vaccine card

The familiar white COVID-19 vaccination cards, which were once essential, are now on their way out as we bid farewell to a significant pandemic era.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ceased the production of new cards since the federal government is no longer distributing COVID-19 vaccines. According to the most recent CDC data available, over 980 million cards were distributed between late 2020, when the initial vaccines became available, and May 10.

The discontinuation of these cards is not expected to bring about significant changes, as the days of carrying them in purses and wallets for access to events, bars, and restaurants are mostly behind us. If you still possess your card, it remains valid as proof of vaccination. However, those in need of their COVID-19 vaccination records will now need to request them through a process similar to other vaccines.

In many instances, the clinic, pharmacy, or health department that administered the vaccine can provide these records. Every state and certain cities maintain an immunization registry, though the rules regarding when records are included and the methods for obtaining copies can vary. Records from mass vaccination sites established during the early stages of the pandemic should also be accessible in these registries, contingent on state regulations. It is important to note that there is no nationwide registry for immunization records.

For instance, in Texas, patients must provide written consent to be included in the registry, as stated by David Andres Alegria, spokesperson for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. In contrast, Wyoming and Philadelphia maintain city-specific record systems where vaccine providers are required to document all vaccinations.

Many states offer digital vaccination records, which individuals can access online or through mobile apps. Users can save a certificate or a QR code that serves as proof of vaccination. Some websites even offer tracking and reminders for upcoming vaccinations.

Jeff Chorath, responsible for managing the immunization information system in Washington state, highlighted the positive aspect of increased patient autonomy during the pandemic, particularly in terms of immunization records. Washington state provides two digital options for accessing vaccination records: a comprehensive list of all vaccinations in the state's database and a specific one for COVID-19 vaccines.

However, it's worth noting that not all states offer the same digital options, which may result in longer waiting times to obtain records. Additionally, there might be gaps in state databases, particularly if you were vaccinated by a federal health provider, as these records might be stored in a separate system.

As for your old vaccination card, if you still have it, it's advisable not to send it off to a museum just yet. Heidi Gurov, a nurse consultant with the Wyoming Department of Health, suggests keeping it in a secure place, similar to any other health record.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the CDC, announced that four million people in the U.S. have received the latest COVID-19 vaccine since its approval last month, with a total of 10 million doses distributed to providers.
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