The One Question You Should Ask Before You Leave Your Vaccine Center

Getting this information at your appointment could help you down the line.

Your COVID vaccination may be your ticket to returning to some form of life as you knew it before the pandemic. The shot gives you protection if you want to dine out, go the movies, and see other vaccinated friends and family. Some of these activities may require proof of your inoculation in the form of your vaccination card—and if you lose that, it could be challenging to prove that you were vaccinated. To make sure you're fully prepared, you need to ask one question before leaving your vaccine appointment. Keep reading to find out what information you need, and for more vaccine guidance, Don't Do This for 2 Days After Your COVID Vaccine, Doctors Say.

Ask where your vaccination record is being held.

Man talking to doctor about the COVID vaccine
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Your vaccination card is not the only evidence that you've received the COVID vaccine. The information on when you were vaccinated and which shot you received will be filed somewhere, and you should know where to access that information if needed. "You want to know where this information is being recorded digitally, in case you lose your card," Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of NYU Langone's Division of Medical Ethics, told MarketWatch.

Before leaving the vaccine center, ask someone where your vaccination record will be held. If no one at the site can tell you, MarketWatch suggests checking your state health department's immunization information system (IIS). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that some vaccine centers may enroll you in V-safe or VaxText after your first dose. If you're set up with one of these online tools, you'll be able to easily access your vaccine information. And for more on next steps, The CDC Says You Should Immediately Do This Once You've Been Vaccinated.

You should also take a picture of your vaccination card.

Man holding a vaccine card
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Another step you can take to make sure you don't misplace the proof that you were vaccinated is to keep a photo of your vaccination card on-hand. "It is recommended those who have the shot take a picture of their vaccination card with their phones if they have one," Lisa Meadows, APRN-BC, director of the Healthy Kids Outreach Programs for Child Health Advocacy & Outreach at St. Louis Children's Hospital, told Healthline.

Emergency physician Leana Wen, MD, told MarketWatch that after taking a picture of both sides of the vaccination card, you should mark it as a "favorite" in your phone's photo album to have easy access to it in the future. "I would email the pictures to myself, too, just to make sure that there's another copy of it," Wen added. And to make sure you're ready, Doctors Say Do These 2 Things the Morning of Your Vaccine Appointment.

And make a copy of the card.

Doctor filling out yellow vaccination card for COVID vaccine
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Beyond taking a picture of your vaccination card, make a copy or two. "That way, if the card is lost, you still have a record and can provide this information to the distribution centers where the vaccine is administered," Meadows said. Having multiple copies of the card also allows you to keep the card in a few different spots.

"When it comes to something like your COVID vaccination, you want to have this documentation at your fingertips," Wen noted. "That's why having multiple copies of it available in different ways is a wise choice." And for more COVID vaccine news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Laminate the official copy.

A COVID-19 vaccination record card with a vile of vaccine and a syringe.
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Laminating the official copy of your vaccination record makes it less likely to misplace, and also keeps it safe from spills, tears, or stains. Caplan said he began telling people to laminate their vaccination cards about two months ago.

"Knowing who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 is going to be crucial in the months to come, and it's going to be absolutely crucial for getting into events, traveling, maybe even getting into work," he said. And for things to avoid, Don't Do This the Night Before Your Vaccine Appointment, Experts Say.

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