It's the end of an era for a once-critical pandemic document: The ubiquitous white COVID-19 vaccination cards are being phased out.
Now that the federal government is not distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped printing new cards.
The federal government sent out more than 980 million cards between the end of 2020, when the first vaccines came out, and through May 10, according to the latest data available from the CDC.
Federal and local health officials don't expect the discontinuation of the cards to be a particularly big change, given the days when they were kept in purses and wallets to guarantee entry to festivals, bars and restaurants They have been left behind. If you have kept your card, it will still be valid as proof of vaccination. Otherwise, people who need their COVID-19 vaccination records will need to request them like any other vaccine.
In many cases, the clinic, pharmacy or health department that provided the vaccine can provide those records. Each state and some cities have a vaccination record , although rules vary about when records are included and options for obtaining copies of your records. Records from mass vaccination sites held early in the pandemic should also be available in those records, according to state law. There is no national registry of vaccination records.
For example, Texas requires that patients' written consent be included in the registry, said San Antonio Metropolitan Health District spokesman David Andrés Alegría. Other locations, including Wyoming and the registration system city specific of Philadelphia, require vaccine providers to record all vaccinations.
Many states offer digital vaccination records for people, either online or through an app. Users can save a certificate or QR code proving they have been vaccinated. And some websites will even track and alert patients when it's their turn.
“One of the positives (during the pandemic) was having more autonomy in patient registration, especially vaccine registration,” said Jeff Chorath, who manages the vaccine information system in Washington state. Washington offers two digital options for obtaining vaccination records: a list complete of all of a person's vaccinations recorded in the state database and one specific for COVID-19 vaccines.
Other states don't have the same options, so it may take longer to obtain your records. There could also be gaps in state databases; For example, if you were vaccinated by a federal health provider, those records can be tracked in a separate system.
As for your old card, if you still have it, maybe not mail it to the Smithsonian still. You should keep it like any other medical record, said Heidi Gurov, a nurse consultant with the Wyoming Department of Health.
"It's always good to keep them in a safe place," he said.
Four million people in the US have received the latest COVID-19 vaccine since it was approved last month CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said Wednesday, and a total of 10 million doses have been shipped to providers.