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Sunday, April 25, 2021

What To Do If You Lose and How to Protect your COVID-19 Vaccine Card Before Traveling

You got your COVID vaccine and you're tired of keeping it in your wallet? Is that the safest place? Be prepared what to do if you or a loved one loses or damages their CDC Vaccination Record Card!

Certain destinations, tour operators and travel providers may require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, or accept proof of vaccination as an alternative to strict testing and quarantine requirements.  (Some operators, like Viking Ocean Cruises, are requiring passengers to have COVID-19 tests daily!) Streamlining those processes is something the travel industry has been working on in the form of digital vaccine passports but at this time there are no universally accepted methods of verification.  There may never be…

Even though it’s a low profile, small piece of paper, it’s an extraordinarily high value for you as a person to be able to travel.  Take care of it like you would your passport.  Store it in a safe place, make photocopies and take photos of it for your backup.  Until there’s a universal verification tool, some travelers say they will laminate and wear a "I've been vaccinated" button after being vaccinated when hitting the road. Click the photo below to find these at Amazon:

Other travelers I’ve spoken to have said they plan to laminate their vaccination cards to prevent damage — and Staples will even do it for free.  We’re not fans of laminating our cards because you may need to add information about a booster to it later.  Of course you can use a sandwich bag to protect it, but we prefer a sleeve where the card can be removed and updated if booster shots become recommended in the future. Click the photo below to find these on Amazon:

If you do lose or damage your card, don’t panic. First, check your email for instructions which may tell you exactly what to do. If not, remember that all COVID-19 vaccination providers are required to report data within 72 hours in their state’s immunization system. That means there will likely be a back-up record of your vaccination status.  Check your state and print up their online record of your vaccine too! We recommend doing this anyway and stashing their record in a safe place. 

The CDC recommends contacting the immunization information system in your state to see if they have records (but not to contact the CDC since they do NOT keep a record of COVID-19 vaccines). You can also contact the place where you got your shot or health department of your state. If you didn't already know, you have this option with all vaccines — not just the COVID-19 shots.

Recently, a friend who got vaccinated in Florida accidentally lost his card before receiving a second dose of the Modern vaccine, and workers at the facility where he obtained his first vaccine happily provided him with a new card. Remember, depending on where you received your vaccine, there may be options available for a replacement card.  Be prepared to provide proof of identity!

American Airlines and British Airways introduced a mobile health passport called VeriFLY for international travel. Copa Airlines and the Panamanian government are also partnering with IATA Travel Pass to create a health passport. If you plan to travel to a destination or with a provider that allows you to present digital verification of your vaccination status, that may be adequate in place of your paper vaccination card.  These are the days when we suggest working with a travel agent to help you navigate the nuances that are changing daily for traveling during the pandemic.


  1. great tips. another great one would also be to check your email for any sort of confirmation. thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the informational post. Plastic card protectors are a great idea!