TSA really wants you to stop losing your COVID-19 vaccine card

Jan 21, 2022

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Do you know where your COVID-19 vaccine card is? If not, you should.

If you’ve misplaced your vaccine card and you traveled recently, you may want to check the airport. Specifically, you may want to see if you left it at security screening.

The Transportation Security Administration tweeted a photo of a stack of COVID-19 vaccine cards the agency said travelers left behind at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) this month. If you think you may have lost your vaccine card at the airport, TSA recommends visiting the lost and found at the airport to retrieve it.

But if you don’t want your travel plans to be derailed by a missing vaccine card, here are some ways to keep track of this vital document.

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How to keep track of your COVID-19 vaccine card

(Photo by mixetto/Getty Images)

If you’re worried that you may lose your vaccine card, here are some ways to keep track of it:

Take a photo

I rarely travel with my physical vaccine card, even around New York City. Immediately after getting vaccinated, I took a photo of my card in case I needed to show it to visit bars, gyms or restaurants. I keep it in my “Favorites” folder in the Photos app of my iPhone to show it quickly without having to fumble around in my purse for the physical card.

Vaccine passport apps

We’ve written extensively about vaccine passports over the past year, but they’re convenient if you don’t want to bring your physical card with you, whether you’re going to the restaurant down the street or traveling abroad. In any case, your physical card may not come in handy to visit some destinations like Singapore, which doesn’t accept paper vaccine cards at all.

There are several vaccine passport apps on the market, from Clear’s Health Pass to CommonPass. And a handful of states, such as New York, issue digital health passes to residents who were vaccinated in that state. So, if you have a digital method of converting your vaccination record, you should do that and leave the physical card at home.

Buy a vaccine card holder

Sometimes, simply having a place to keep your vaccine card can help prevent you from accidentally leaving it behind in a bin at airport security.

Keeping your travel documents together, including your vaccine card and passport, can also help you stay organized while traveling abroad. Many companies are now crafting special passport holders that have a specific slot for your vaccine card. One quick look and you’ll know immediately if something is amiss without having to rifle through your bags.

The bottom line: You should treat your COVID-19 vaccine card the same way you would your credit cards, driver’s license or passport. That means you store it in a secure location, such as a wallet, safe or desk drawer, at all times. And if you don’t need to travel with it, leave it at home.

What if I lose my COVID-19 vaccine card?

(Photo by portishead1/Getty Images)

Your COVID-19 vaccine card is your key to traveling to many destinations, so you want to know where it is at all times. However, you do have some options if you’ve lost, damaged or misplaced your vaccine card.

As I’ve previously reported, there’s a record of your vaccination if you were vaccinated in the United States.

All COVID-19 vaccination providers are required to report data within 72 hours in their state’s immunization system. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to prove you’ve been vaccinated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that you should first contact the location where you received the shot to obtain your vaccination record if you lost your card.

Your state’s health department or immunization information system may also have a record of your vaccination. Lastly, if you’re enrolled in the CDC’s V-safe or VaxText text notification system, you can access your vaccination information that way — but keep in mind that the agency itself doesn’t have access to your records.

Featured photo by Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM/Getty Images.

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