OAKLAND, Calif. - In the age of a pandemic, they may soon serve as your "ticket in" or passport for travel: your all-important COVID-19 proof of vaccination card.
Elizabeth Hafted, Pharmacist displays a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston on Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
And now Staples and Office Depot are offering a deal to help people protect that document. Last week, Office Depot announced a promotion for free lamination of a customer’s completed COVID-19 card. The deal is valid through July 25.
Staples also has a similar promotion going, offering free lamination at all of its U.S. retailers, with no set date on when the deal will expire.
Some are calling it your "new golden ticket," as more and more Americans get vaccinated and things begin to reopen.
Currently, the only proof to show your immunization status is that white paper card handed to you at the time of vaccination.
The card includes information on which vaccine was administered, the date or dates of your shot, and the location you received it.
A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
"Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised.
That future use could be for getting into major sporting events or concerts, taking a cruise, or booking other travel. It may be required for a new job. There have even been reports that brides and grooms, seeking ways to hold a safe wedding, are asking guests to show they’ve been vaccinated.
Wedding during a pandemic: Brides and grooms are making adjustments to keep themselves and guests safe.
While getting your card laminated may be one way to try and keep your vaccination verification protected, what if you lose the document?
The CDC says it does not store immunization records, so the agency recommends contacting the state health department, local immunization program, or if you get your shot at a pharmacy, try reaching out directly to the vaccine provider.
Walgreens has developed ways to track the information for customers it has vaccinated. "Walgreens maintains digital copies of patient vaccination records and can verify vaccination status on behalf of patients in the event that a dose card is lost or damaged," a corporate spokesperson told KTVU, adding, "We are also exploring a number of ways to enhance the customer vaccine experience, including a digital dose card and tracker."
There are tech companies currently working toward creating a digital format to store vaccination verification, but for now, beyond laminating your card, there are other steps you can take to keep the document protected.
"Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy," the CDC suggests. Another way to keep a record of your vaccination is to make a photocopy of your card.
And what if you don't receive a card at your vaccine appointment? The CDC recommends starting by contacting the vaccination provider site or your state health department. California has set up an immunization information system known as the California Immunization Registry, which residents can contact by calling 800-578-7889 or emailing CAIRHelpdesk@cdph.ca.gov.