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Can't find your COVID vaccine card? Here's what to do

Don't worry: If you lost or damaged your vaccination card, there are ways to recover it.

COVID vaccination card

Your vaccine site may have proof that you got the shot if you lose your vaccination card. 

Stefan Cristian Cioata/Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

What can you do if you've lost or damaged your COVID-19 vaccine card? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't keep vaccination status records, so it may seem difficult to retrieve proof you're fully vaccinated. However, it's not as hard as you think -- even if you went to a mass vaccination site that's no longer around. 

You'll want to get your card back to show proof you're vaccinated so you can get into many restaurants, Broadway theaters and gyms across the country that require it. And millions of Americans will likely have to submit their vaccination record for employment, including Google, IBM, federal executive branch employees and more. It's almost as important as keeping your photo ID handy. 

We'll tell you what to do if you lost or damaged your card. And if you haven't lost your card, there are also a few ways that you can store your vaccination card on your phone or your Apple Watch so you can leave the paper card at home in a safe place.  And here's the latest on COVID-19 boosters and Pfizer's vaccine for kids. This story was recently updated.    

It's OK if you went to a mass vaccination site

You can still get your COVID-19 vaccine record, even if you got your shot at a mass vaccination site, like a church or stadium. Suppose you got the shot at a pop-up vaccination site that's no longer around and you lose your card. Contact your county state's health department. Most states have a phone number, email address and website to get your immunization records. You likely need to fill out an immunization request form and submit a photo ID. The process and timeframe can vary by state. 

Keep in mind that your state's health department may not have access to your COVID-19 vaccine status if you were not vaccinated with a state-approved provider. It could also be possible that your vaccine record has not been updated on your state's registry yet. 

Your state may also have an online portal to retrieve your vaccine info, like North Carolina's COVID-19 Vaccine Portal. North Carolinians that got vaccinated with one of the state's providers and provided an email address can print their vaccine record from the portal. 

Got the shot at a pharmacy? That works, too 

If you got your vaccination at a pharmacy, you're in luck. Your pharmacy most likely has a record of your vaccination. For example, at Walgreens, you can take your driver's license or ID to the pharmacy to get your vaccine record. 

And you don't even need to leave your home if you use CVS. You can get proof of vaccination quickly on its website or the CVS Health app. You can also visit the pharmacy to get a new card. We suggest calling your pharmacy to ask what its protocol is if you're unsure or see if there's an online portal to request your information on its website.

You can also check with your doctor's office

Did you get vaccinated at a doctor's office, clinic or healthcare facility? If so, they may have a record of your shot. If not, they'll be able to point you in the right direction. 

Your doctor's office or healthcare facility may have an app, like MyChart, that stores your proof of vaccination. Some physicians put vaccine documents and test results in the app, so it's easy to grab. But keep in mind that just because your information is available on the app, you may not be able to get a replacement card with the CDC's seal if your doctor's office doesn't offer one. However, you may be able to ask for a printed version of your vaccine record. 

Red flag: It's illegal to falsify your vaccine card 

It may seem tempting to buy a card and fill in the information yourself but the above options are better than breaking the law. First, fake vaccine cards can cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it's illegal to purchase a fake vaccine card or fill in your own information. You should not use a government seal without permission. And buyers and sellers are both committing fraud. Even if you've had the vaccine, if you buy a fake card it's still considered fraud and is punishable by fines and possibly jail. 

The US Customs and Border Protection regularly reports seizing thousands of fake vaccine cards across the country. The crime is punishable by up to five years in jail or fines. So it's a good reminder to do everything you can to retrieve your proof of vaccination the right way. 

A digital COVID-19 vaccine card is a good choice 

Some states -- including California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon -- let you create a digital version of your vaccination card that you can see on your phone. I recently traveled to another state and was able to use my digital vaccine card from my state to enter a restaurant there that required proof to enter. And the list of states that are providing vaccine passport apps is growing. 

You may also be able to use the CDC's app, v-safe. If you signed up for it when you first got the shot, you might be in luck. The app stores your vaccine information, so it's easy to retrieve it if the white card is lost or becomes worn. The CDC also gives step-by-step instructions to register for v-safe. 

However, you won't be able to retrieve a new vaccine card this way. The CDC does not keep extra vaccination cards if you lose your original copy. 

Retrieving your proof of vaccination is possible and there are a few ways to try. But before you lose your card, there are a few ways to store it on your phone (even a clear photo of your card will work). Samsung users can use the CommonHealth app. And Google has a way for Android phones. We'll update you as soon as there are more ways to safely store your vaccination card and the latest on the possibility of vaccine passports

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.