Should you laminate your vaccine card?

COVID-19 vaccine card with blue pen on top; should you laminate your vaccine card?
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As more and more people receive their COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine cards—proof of inoculation against the virus—have become increasingly important. Vaccine cards bear vital information, including which brand of vaccine a person received, and officials urge those who’ve received these cards to keep careful track of them. This is prompting people to begin laminating their vaccine cards.

But is that the right choice?

Experts don’t entirely agree on whether you should be laminating your vaccine card. Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, told CNN that if people want to laminate their vaccine cards, they should “go for it.”

Dr. Kiran Joshi, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health, disagrees. He told NBC 5 that lamination may not be the best option. The additional lines at the bottom of the cards, marked “other,” may need to be used in the future. 

“It is possible that in coming months or coming years, there may be a need for a booster shot, and that booster shot could potentially be reported on that vaccine card,” Joshi said. “So you may want to hold off on laminating it for now.”

Additionally, there are concerns that the lamination process may make some of the information on the cards unreadable. As noted by Poynter, some of the information on vaccine cards may be printed with a thermal printer. The heat required to laminate may render portions of your vaccine card unreadable.

If you’re hoping to laminate your vaccine card, Wen recommends taking a snapshot or photocopy first. Even if you don’t plan to laminate, this is a good route. That way, if you lose your card or damage it in the lamination process, you’ll have a backup that clearly displays all the relevant information. Staples and Office Depot are currently offering free lamination for vaccine cards. 

Remember, snapshots of your vaccine card should not be shared to social media. The information on the cards can be used to access personal information and may make it easier for your identity to be stolen. 

Read more on vaccine cards:

Sources: NBC 5, Poynter, CNN

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