CDC has stopped printing them

It’s the end of an era for a time-critical pandemic document: The ubiquitous white COVID-19 vaccination cards are being phased out.

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are no longer being distributed by the federal government, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped printing new cards.

The federal government sent more than 980 million cards in late 2020, when the first vaccines arrived, through May 10, according to the latest available data from the CDC.

Federal and local health officials don’t expect banning the cards to be a particularly big change, as the days of keeping them in purses and wallets to ensure entry to festivals, bars and restaurants are largely over. If you have kept your card with you, it is still valid as proof of vaccination. Otherwise, people who need their COVID-19 vaccination records will need to request them just like they would for any other vaccine.

In many cases, the clinic, pharmacy or health department that provided the shot can provide records. Every state and some cities have a vaccination registry, although rules vary depending on how to include records and options for getting copies of your records. Depending on state laws, records from mass vaccination sites held at the beginning of the pandemic should also be available in those registries. There is no national registry for vaccination records.

Texas, for example, requires patients’ written consent to be included in the registry, said David Andres Alegría, a spokesman for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. Elsewhere, including Wyoming and Philadelphia’s city-specific records systems, vaccine providers are required to log all vaccinations.

Many states provide digital vaccination records for individuals online or through apps. Users can save a certificate or QR code that proves they have been vaccinated. And some websites will even track and alert patients when their next delivery is due.

“One of the positive things (during the pandemic) was increased autonomy over your patient records, particularly vaccination records,” said Jeff Chorth, who manages the vaccination information system in Washington state. Washington offers two digital options for obtaining vaccination records — a comprehensive list of all of a person’s vaccinations noted in the state database and one specifically for COVID-19 vaccines.

Other states don’t have the same options, so it may take longer to get your records. State databases may also have deficiencies; For example, if you were vaccinated by a federal health provider, those records may be tracked in a separate system.

As for your old card – if you still have it – maybe don’t mail it to the Smithsonian just yet. You should save it like any other health record, said Heidi Gurov, nurse consultant for 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 its approval last month, and a total of 10 million doses have been shipped to providers, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said Wednesday.

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