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How to replace a lost or damaged COVID-19 vaccination card

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How to replace a lost or damaged COVID-19 vaccination card

It’s growing increasingly common to be asked for “proof of vaccination” around Boston, whether it’s at the host stand of restaurant or waiting in line for a Bruins game at TD Garden. But what happens if that precious piece of paper gets lost or destroyed?

Just an hour north of Boston, 29-year-old John Tackeff faced that dilemma in New Hampshire back in May.

“I had been storing my card in my wallet, which was not a great idea. I had it folded and after a month or so you totally couldn’t read it, it was all smudged,” he told the Herald.

After encountering dead ends through local government help lines and websites, Tackeff ended up trekking back to the mass vaccination site where he received his shots. He explained his situation to the National Guard stationed there. They were surprised he couldn’t get the card replaced any other way, Tackeff said, but looked up his information and issued him a new one.

Four months later, there’s still no federal or state one-size-fits-all solution to replace a COVID-19 card.

Patients who got their shots at Massachusetts mass vaccination sites can request a card copy through the company that ran those sites.

CIC Health, which ran pop up sites at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and Hynes Convention Center, offers an online portal where cards can be reported lost or destroyed. The company will then send new cards through the mail.

Here’s where it gets a little more complicated. Patients who were vaccinated at Natick and Eastfield malls, Danvers Doubletree, and the former Circuit City in Dartmouth will need to access their vaccine records through an email they got from provider Curative, or call their support line.

Vaccinated persons who got shots at their doctor’s office or through the local health department, like at a community pop-up event, will have to turn to their primary care provider. And if a local business like CVS or Stop & Shop was the site of vaccination, the patient can go through whatever online portal that business has set up. But the online vaccine records provided are often listed as “backups” because they haven’t been distributed by the CDC, like in the case of Walmart’s portal.

To get government-issued proof of COVID-19 vaccination, file an immunization record request with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The state will send a paper record of vaccination history, but it won’t be a card.

It may be tempting to carry that little CDC card around at all times, but several readers contacted the Herald to describe how much damage their cards suffered while stashed in wallets. It doesn’t take very long for ink to rub off, and it just takes one push from a jokester at a pool party to ruin a card completely.

The CDC recommends taking a photo of the card, and most businesses will accept a shot on a cell phone as proof.

Retailers also sell COVID-19 card-specific protection sleeves. These sleeves can be a better option than laminating a card, because a future health-care provider can take out the paper record and write in any necessary booster shots.

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