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10 things to know about vaccine cards?

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

1. Can you briefly explain what a COVID-19 vaccine card is for those who don't understand? What purpose does it serve?

A "vaccine card" is a card documenting that someone has completed all vaccination for Covid-19. Everyone receiving a vaccine does receive a white card that documents their name and date of all vaccination shots for Covid-19. The simple card that individuals receive from their vaccine sites could then be used to qualify for a digital "vaccine card" which is already being created by third parties for smartphones. This vehicle could be used for documentation that someone has been vaccinated to third parties for access to certain events or locations. Sometimes these cards are also referred to as vaccine "passports."

The purpose of this card is to allow access for the individual into places that are restricted to people who have been vaccinated. Currently, the places that will use vaccination cards are unclear but could include public spaces such as restaurants, movie theaters, or sporting events. Additionally, the travel industry could use these cards for international travel via airlines or cruises. The eventual uses will be established over the next several months.

2. When was the concept of a COVID-19 vaccine card introduced?

The concept of an "immunity pass" started early in the pandemic when some health officials advocated checking antibody levels to establish someone was safe and would catch or transmit Covid-19. Since then the country of Israel established the first large scale vaccine passport system for domestic use in its own country to allow vaccinated individuals to go to shops and restaurants.

3. Has the idea of a vaccine card been enforced? If not, when do you think it will?

It is being enforced in Israel. I think it will be enforced for international travel but much less so in the United States except in special circumstances.

4. What are some pros to having a COVID-19 vaccine card?

Using access control with these cards may be the best way to establish safety in public safety with minimal transmission of Covid-19. This may protect workers and patrons. The concept may allow more rapid reopening and allow businesses to stay open.

5. What are some cons to having a COVID-19 vaccine card?

The vaccine card concept does not make provisions for those who have limited access to vaccines, those with religious or health exemptions, or those who may have other personal objections to being vaccinated. Using this card for access may be considered giving privilege to elite individuals. Forcing vaccination to obtain the card may also be considered an infringement of civil liberties. Additionally, the card may be forged and eliminated its value of creating a safe space.

6. How can you keep your vaccine card safe?

You can keep your actual card safe by keeping a copy of it or having it laminated. Careful if you choose to laminate it, as it might need to be added to with boosters at a later date. Also, when digital passports are available, you can leave your actual card at home and just carry the smartphone version.

7. Will there be a digital record of your vaccine somewhere, or is your card all you have?

Certain third parties are already creating a digital record which could be used as a vaccine passport.

8. What should you do if you lose yours?

You can usually go back to the site where you were vaccinated and ask for a duplicate for a lost card.

9. Should you carry it around with you? Why/why not?

This would not be recommended as it may be lost. You should carry a picture copy on your phone instead unless you need to go to a space that specifically requests the actual card.

10. Will taking your vaccine card with you be something that becomes standard as travel loosens and we need to prove that we have been vaccinated to enter certain countries, etc.?

Carrying the actual card will not be standard but a digital copy may become the standard for some places in some locales like Israel for public restaurants.

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