The CDC Says You Should Immediately Do This Once You've Been Vaccinated

The agency recommends taking this first step right after you get your doses.

The pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the United States has picked up speed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a quarter of the population has received at least one dose as of March 25. But as more states begin to open up eligibility in the coming weeks, the CDC has released an update to their guidelines urging people to take a photo of their vaccine record card immediately once they've been vaccinated. Read on to see why this simple step is so important, and for more important official information, check out The CDC Says Don't Take This After Your Vaccine Without a Doctor's OK.

The CDC says to take a picture of your vaccine card and keep it in a safe place.

close up of person holding covid vaccination card

The agency's latest addition to their guidelines serves as a reminder that anyone getting their shot should receive a vaccination card that lists which type of vaccine you received, the date you received it, and the location of where you were vaccinated. Since the information on this card is important, the CDC recommends that you hold on to the card or store it in a safe place and to "consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy."

The agency also advises that if you don't receive a card after getting your first dose for whatever reason, "contact the vaccination provider site where you got vaccinated or your state health department to find out how you can get a card."

You may soon need the card for certain activities.

A man holding his COVID-19 vaccination record card while giving a thumbs up

Besides holding important information, your record of receiving your shots will be important as life begins to go back to normal. "A vaccination card is a tool that people can use to declare that they have some level of protection against COVID," John Brownstein, PhD, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, told ABC News.

"Whether it's school, entertainment venues, or travel, there's going to be an expectation that to resume these activities you have to be retested and enter quarantine or produce proof of immunization," he added, recommending that people store their completed cards with other important documents such as passports, social security cards, or birth certificates. And for more on where you shouldn't go after getting your doses, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.

The information may also be important for booster shots.

A COVID-19 vaccination record card sitting on a table next to a face mask and stethoscope

While the vaccines that are currently being administered have been proven to be highly effective, it's unlikely that the first round of COVID-19 shots will be the last. As some pharmaceutical companies have begun working on updated versions of the vaccine in response to new variants of the virus, Krutika Kuppalli, MD, vice-chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's global health committee and an expert in biosecurity at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told ABC News that the vaccine brand and lot number written on your card might be important when the time comes for a booster shot.

"It's important for people to have a record of which vaccine they received and when they got their shots," Kuppalli said.

You can still get a replacement if you lose your card.

Vials of COVID-19 vaccine and a syringe sit on top of a vaccination date record card.
Bill Oxford / iStock

If you've already misplaced your coveted vaccine card, there's no reason to panic. According to Amesh Adalja, MD, an infectious disease specialist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, "you should go back to where you got vaccinated" to get the information and a replacement card.

If your immunization location can't help you, another option is to call your state's health department, which should also have your information on record in their vaccination database. And for more on how you can prepare for your shots, check out The CDC Says Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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