All adults in the United States are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. With vaccine distribution reaching the general public, a growing proportion of students are now vaccinated. In turn, those vaccinated students should have received a vaccine card.
It’s worthwhile for schools to understand what COVID-19 vaccine cards are and what uses they may have. This article provides an overview of COVID-19 vaccine cards and considerations for supporting students that have COVID-19 vaccine cards.
Overview of Vaccine Cards
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccinated individual should be given a vaccine card. A vaccine card lists which vaccine was given, how many doses, the date(s) received, and where it was administered. If receiving a two-dose vaccine, the individual would receive a card after their first dose and then have it updated upon receiving their second dose.
Notably, as part of return-to-campus plans, some schools’ vaccination policies may ask students to verify their vaccination status. Commonly, vaccine cards are used for verification.
Helping Students Keep Their Cards Safe
As vaccine cards may potentially be needed both on campus and for activities outside of school, it’s important that vaccinated students keep their vaccine cards safe. Schools can consider proactive steps to help ensure students aren’t left without copies of their vaccine cards.
These steps include:
- Encouraging students to keep their cards in a safe place
- Encouraging students to take a photo of the card
- Providing protective sleeves for students’ vaccination cards
- Offering card lamination services
Helping Students Who Didn’t Receive a Card or Lost It
While schools may not be able to directly aid a vaccinated student who lost their vaccine card or never received one, they may be able to educate students about steps they can take to obtain a new card. Fortunately, there are various steps available to them.
According to the CDC, if an individual lost or never received their COVID-19 vaccine card, the first action they should take is to contact their vaccination provider site directly to find out how they can get a card.
If unable to contact their vaccination provider directly, other options include:
- Contacting their vaccination site and see if they’ll give them a replacement.
- Contacting their health department’s immunization information system (IIS). Students who received the vaccination in the US can find state IIS information on the CDC’s website. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
- If enrolled in v-safe or VaxText after their first vaccine dose, they can access their vaccination information using those tools.
- If an individual has made every effort to locate their vaccination card is still unable to get a copy or replacement, they should contact a vaccination provider for more information.
COVID-19 vaccine cards could factor into some institutions’ return-to-campus plans. While the needs of students and return-to-campus plans will vary, schools can consider steps to support students with vaccine cards.