The COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card as a Travel Document

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Eric in East County

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Last week, when we received our first Pfizer COVID-19 shots, we were issued CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards along with strict instructions to keep them in a safe place and not to lose them. Accordingly, we have locked them up in our safe along with our birth certificates, marriage certificate, house deed and other important papers.

We’ll be traveling back to Ohio on AMTRAK this summer and need some guidance on whether or not to bring along our Vaccination Record Cards.

Will these vaccination record cards be of any value to us as travel documents? If so, to protect our originals, would certified copies be as acceptable as having the actual card?

In another discussion thread, it was mentioned that AMTRAK is NOT requiring proof of vaccination. Those of you who are traveling again, are you taking along your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card? Any and all comments will be appreciated.

Eric & Pat
 

neroden

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Very few places are checking them. (Amtrak is not.) At this point, a copy would be acceptable; the problem of fraudulent cards has not become significant yet so nobody is worrying about it much yet.
 

20th Century Rider

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Last week, when we received our first Pfizer COVID-19 shots, we were issued CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards along with strict instructions to keep them in a safe place and not to lose them. Accordingly, we have locked them up in our safe along with our birth certificates, marriage certificate, house deed and other important papers.

We’ll be traveling back to Ohio on AMTRAK this summer and need some guidance on whether or not to bring along our Vaccination Record Cards.

Will these vaccination record cards be of any value to us as travel documents? If so, to protect our originals, would certified copies be as acceptable as having the actual card?

In another discussion thread, it was mentioned that AMTRAK is NOT requiring proof of vaccination. Those of you who are traveling again, are you taking along your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card? Any and all comments will be appreciated.

Eric & Pat
The AARP has recommended not to laminate your vaccine card. This is so it can be updated in the future.

You should keep it in a safe and secure place... take a picture of it with your cell phone as proof of vaccination when you travel. You may want to also store this in your computer so it can be printed if necessary.
 

tim49424

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Some of my friends keep theirs in lanyards, like the kind you get at conferences. It's a good way to protect the card while also making it readily available for booster updates. It also makes it easy to wear (if eventually necessary for travel).
I love this idea! I was thinking of going to Staples, who offers free lamination with a coupon, to get mine done, but I'm going to look into the lanyard idea for protection of my card instead.
 

Ziv

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I put my Vaccination Record Card in a plastic wrap originally intended to hold my real Passport. I brought it with me to the USVI yesterday but all they wanted were proof of my Negative test result using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing and a green QR code showing I had submitted my PCR results to the USVI Travel Portal and gotten their go ahead to visit the Virgin Islands.
Easy Peasy. But I recommend bringing a hard copy of both. The guy in front of me claimed to have the QR code but couldn't find the email on his smart phone. I would kind of doubt his truthfulness but on my last trip it took me 5 minutes to get gmail to come up so I could show the National Guardsman so he could scan my code. It looked like he was still there when I hit the doors to the taxi bank.
I have taken a picture of both just in case and sent it to myself as a jpg. I also take a scan/PDF of my real Passport and the backs of my credit cards on my own scanner and send it to myself just in case my wallet/and or phone gets stolen or lost. Public use scanners are not really private.
 

20th Century Rider

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And... don't forget to tell your doctor or medical service... so that your vaccination records are included with your medical records... which are usually in a data base.
 

jis

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Since I got mine at a State DOH site I know that my vaccine record is in the State DOH vaccination database (including date, type and lot) and it can be accessed from there subject to HIPAA restrictions of course. I am not sure whether my doctors office has bothered to synch vaccine data with the state DOH. But they do know that I am vaccinated.

I have a copy of the Vaccination Card (and many other useful official documents) stashed away in a folder in the "Cloud", so that I can access them from anywhere if and when needed, and they are cached on my iPhone. I do not usually carry around originals of documents that are not needed during a journey in the original form. If and when proof of vaccination in the original is required I will just add it to my travel documents zipper wallet which is used on international trips for things like Passports too.
 
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PVD

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The main reason I uploaded the fact that I was vaccinated on a few different providers systems was to stop the torrent of "invitations to come get vaccinated" that they are automatically generating in e-mail and text...
 

jis

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Yeah suddenly everybody wants to vaccinate and test me as many times as possible! What a difference a month makes!

The vaccination thing is annoyingly redundant. At least I have never been tested yet, since I had no reason to, having had isolated myself until well after the second shot.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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Unless your doctors office is still in the 20th century and I don’t mean the late 20th century 😳
My doctor's office does use computers - for scheduling appointments. Otherwise, everything appears to be still papers in files (you should see how thick my file is as my current doctor is in the practice my doctor, from when I was a pre-teen, joined when he decided to semi-retire). They won't take calls from pharmacies to auto refill prescriptions. They won't take faxes from patients. Etc, etc, etc. My doctor is ok, so I haven't bothered to find a new one (never know what the new one will be like).
 

PRR 60

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From a practical sense, the CDC Card is not a secure official document. At best, it is a personal FYI-only record with the dates, brand and batch numbers of the vaccines administered. The CDC Card would be so easy to forge that any official use to allow travel, facility admission or similar would be a joke. Electronic medical databases could, in theory, provide info for a more secure and authentic "vaccine passport," but even those are fragmented among multiple venders and don't readily talk to each other.

Electronic medical recordkeeping is a carrot/stick requirement from CMS (Medicare). Providers that meet CMS's electronic recordkeeping requirements (including offering patient portals) get higher Medicare payments than those that do not. While it is technically a payment bonus to those offices that meet the requirements, in practice (pun intended) it is a penalty for those that do not.

As an aside, when I got the second shot, I felt virtually nothing. Slight pressure, but not the normal sting associated with a shot. I joked with my wife that maybe they were running short of supply and every other shot was faked. About 12 hours later I knew that was false (fever, aches and chills).
 

Ryan

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Agreed. I remarked on not feeling a thing when I got my second shot, the nurse commented that between the apparently tiny needle used and the fact that the people doing the sticks are doing them over and over and over and over and over, means that they're getting *really good* at getting them in. I was very much impressed.
 

jis

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At the point I was injected, I did not feel anything both times. The nurse was extremely well practiced I presumed. Usually that has to do with the expertise of the administering nurse/practitioner rather than a quality of the vaccine being administered. Specially true of most of the more modern vaccine I suppose, since back in the days I have had vaccines where this was not the case.

And now I am reading that over time almost all vaccines may transition over to either mRNA or Adenovector simply because of the superior efficacy that is potentially achievable. But of course we will see.

Moderna just had an article on a single shot combined Flu and COVID vaccine that are in the works in their labs already, that would potentially replace the current annual flu shots and expected seperate annual COVID shots..
 
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Tlcooper93

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Governor DeSantis explicitly prohibited enforcement of mask mandates while the pandemic was still raging. He was among the first to do so. I would not consider any statements by flunkies in his administration to be sane or science-based.
If one assumes that masks are effective (not going to say my opinions), from a practical disease transmission point of view, Florida should have roughly the same coronavirus rate as Massachusetts (perhaps one of the most pro heavy-covid-response states in the union). As per a recent visit to FL, just as in MA, people generally wear masks when inside retail stores. Just as in MA, restaurants are open and servers wear masks, but people don’t wear masks at the tables. Florida has a higher percentage of schools that are open (100% since October), but MA has enough schools open that Covid-19 can certainly spread (all public schools but Boston are in-p. It is uncommon to see someone outdoors in Florida with a mask on, but science hasn’t established that outdoor transmission is a major driver of case numbers. Death rate chart from the CDC, with MA in green:
image-72-768x791.png
On Friday, Governor Baker lifted the outdoor mask mandate in Massachusetts as well. While I think its fair to have opinions about how certain public officials handled the pandemic, the difference in the death rate/hospitalization rate doesn't vary all that much among states with similar population/pop. density.
 

TheVig

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Wife and I keep our original vaccination cards in protective lanyard sleeves, and stored in a safe. We made photo copies, and stuck the copies in our travel backpacks. COVID has not slowed our business or leisure travel at all. So far no one has asked for proof of vaccination.
 

Dakota 400

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My doctor's office does use computers - for scheduling appointments. Otherwise, everything appears to be still papers in files (you should see how thick my file
Sounds like my PCP, except he does use computers to e-mail Rx orders to pharmacies and I think that some data, i.e. test results, are computer recorded. My file is thick as well.
 

Anderson

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If one assumes that masks are effective (not going to say my opinions), from a practical disease transmission point of view, Florida should have roughly the same coronavirus rate as Massachusetts (perhaps one of the most pro heavy-covid-response states in the union). As per a recent visit to FL, just as in MA, people generally wear masks when inside retail stores. Just as in MA, restaurants are open and servers wear masks, but people don’t wear masks at the tables. Florida has a higher percentage of schools that are open (100% since October), but MA has enough schools open that Covid-19 can certainly spread (all public schools but Boston are in-p. It is uncommon to see someone outdoors in Florida with a mask on, but science hasn’t established that outdoor transmission is a major driver of case numbers. Death rate chart from the CDC, with MA in green:
View attachment 22119
On Friday, Governor Baker lifted the outdoor mask mandate in Massachusetts as well. While I think its fair to have opinions about how certain public officials handled the pandemic, the difference in the death rate/hospitalization rate doesn't vary all that much among states with similar population/pop. density.
I will throw a serious qualifier to your statement about your recent visit to Florida: Orlando is not Palatka or Dunnellon. Some of this is municipal mask mandates (FL effectively devolved this to the county/city level). Some of this is business mandates (though I've noticed, elsewhere, that a number of hotels are at most "going through the motions" on their corporate mandates). But as I phrased it at one point last year, there was a requirement at one point to post a sign asking folks to wear a mask. In Orlando, this was interpreted as actually enforcing the requirement. In Palatka, it was interpreted as simply requiring the sign (which everyone promptly ignored). Masks sort-of "took" in Orlando but they never "took" in more rural areas.

[Amusing aside: It's always fun to see a place that still has a pre-pandemic "Please remove hats, masks, and sunglasses" sign alongside "You must wear a mask to enter"...]
 

lonewolfette9847

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[Amusing aside: It's always fun to see a place that still has a pre-pandemic "Please remove hats, masks, and sunglasses" sign alongside "You must wear a mask to enter"...]
As someone who works in a bank, tell me about it. As I keep hearing “masked bandit” jokes from customers, my “it’s only a joke” level sinks lower & lower. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
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