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If I Lose My CDC Vaccination Card – Can I Get a Replacement? Who Do I Ask? What Does It Cost?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


As I blogged about the other day, I am ready to start traveling – a little. I do not plan any major travel for many months to come, so more of the planet can be vaccinated and the days of major lock down, curfews, and the like are a distant memory (or at least in the rear view mirror). I also linked to one of my fellow BoardingArea bloggers Andy who visited Iceland and was basically greeted with open arms with his CDC vaccination card.

What this tells me is my tiny little CDC card is going to become a must have moving forward when I travel. My card, like the stock one you see above, will always be with me internationally, on a cruise or any number of other locations like sporting events. Until there is some kind of national digital pass standard, the paper card will be critical. I get this new travel fact.

But what if I lose it?

YIKES!

Do I call the CDC for a replacement? It turns out not. The CDC turns things over to each state and then on to the location that did your inoculation. So here is what that means for you and me.

First up, if you have not yet lost your card, take a photo of it. Better yet, scan your card’s front and back so you have a copy of it if you need it to get a replacement card. If you did not do that or don’t have that you can hopefully remember the date and location where you got your shots and can go back to them to get another one.

Why not just get a back-up when you get your shots you ask?

I like how you think (yes, it is kinda weird I am talking to myself). I did ask that exact question of the location I went to, that is, to get a backup copy of my CDC card just in case and was told that would be no problem at all but that I should just bring in my current one and they will make another for me to have two of them.

Why does this matter? Well, a news story caught my attention that Staples is offering to laminate your CDC card for free (update: OfficeMax / Depot is offering the same). I see some pluses and negatives with this. Yes, it would be much more durable but you could no longer add things like a booster shot down the road (if you / we get one this fall or later on). Now sure they could just copy all the data at that point to a new card and you again go get it laminated. Or, if you already have a backup copy, take that card and then have that card laminated.

Now you may be thinking – will “whoever” you present the card to be freaked out that you have your card laminated? I have no idea. For example, the SSA says you should not laminate your Social Security card, but clearly this CDC card is not at all the same as your SSN card nor does it have any security features at all. Also keep in mind, and I am not telling you to do this mind you, there is no official anything (like an official vaccination number) on the CDC card. It simply has your name, D.O.B., the maker of the vaccine you got as well as the lot number, the date, and who administered it i.e. the place not the person. The backside simply has your reminder date and or time for your second shot.

That’s it, folks!

In other words, if you have made a copy of your original card, I see no reason you could not, on thick paper, print your own new card and fill out the bits and have your own copy of the card if you happen to lose the original. Oh, and one more little interesting tidbit: depending on the “date code” on the back of your CDC card it may be a tiny bit smaller than the older ones (no idea why).

Clearly someone did not think through how very important this CDC card may / has become to those of us who like to travel and see the world (or get on a cruise ship and such). Having a real, verified, national digital app or the like clearly would be a smarter option vs. this current paper one but there you have it! – René

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

26 Comments

  1. Card is useless. Maybe for the next couple months it will have value but as people start to easily fake them and some countries don’t value the immunity from the vaccine after 90 days or so no one will care about the card.

    • @Ryan – It will be a must have for a while to come – that is clear. But I agree many will fake it sad to say. Thus the need for a real national digital verifiable one.

    • I agree with Ryan, maybe 6 months instead of 3, but short term. Managing a worldwide system with consistent standards will takes months if not years. Long before that happens tourist hungry states and countries will have stopped even asking for the card. In fact Florida (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/545445-desantis-vows-to-take-executive-action-against-vaccine-passports) already says they aren’t doing vaccine passports. Of course all this could change(a few times, lol). As more places stop requiring cards, tourists will resist going to places that require multiple hoops to enter.

  2. You can bet and I already have a fake one. I travel a lot for business and want to wait to get a more traditional vaccine (they are in the works but it will be years). So I printed one I found on the internet on thick-ish paper, put in some official-looking dates, lot numbers and sites, and have been using it. I am in Asia right now and the immigration didn’t bat an eye. So far so good.

    • @BillyBob
      That is awful. So you are traveling internationally and not vaccinated? That is why we are in this predicament in the first place!
      Sorry. I know you don’t care what I think but that is [removed] at best.

  3. Well Billy Bob, I hope you don’t get COVID-19 and spread it around while traveling the world on a fake vaccination card. A doctor friend of mine told me a while back” either get the vaccine shot or at some point you WILL get Covid-19…. it is that contagious” I really don’t care if you catch it except that would mean you are likely to spread it, so good luck.
    Bill

  4. Steve Thornton Reply

    It would have been a real good idea to have it the size of a credit card.

    • @Steve Thornton – Agree. But current smaller one is about the same size as passport so…

      • That’s right–same size as other vaccination certificates like Yellow fever. I have my yellow fever card stapled to the back cover of my passport and plan to do the same with the CDC card when I get dose number two in a couple of hours (woohoo!)

  5. Take a picture of it. If all else fails buy a fake one online and fill it out.

  6. Cranky Uncle Bob Reply

    nice laminator … such an awesome idea for all blog readers … and friends …

  7. LOL, thanks Billy Bob for that awesome link. Honestly, all you [redacted] clutching your pearls at the absolute surety that anyone can and will fake a card is hilarious. Good lord such a bunch of dumb idiots. Why even pretend you are offended? The response to this is so obvious you just make yourself look to be unbelievable with your shocked offense. Authors of blogs should not hold their readers in such low esteem.

    • Commenters shouldn’t assume authors of blogs don’t value readers and (almost all of) their comments. The people who write for this blog certainly appreciate and respect our readers.

  8. If we have get a booster shot down the road and you laminate your card they will not be able to record the booster shot on it

  9. The IATA Travel Pass already has a bunch of airlines on board. Part of their proposal is to have the vaccinating entity provide a digital certificate for the passenger. It seems like any proposal will need something like this. I imagine that this will be easier for someone that gets vaccinated through their normal health care provider than someone that shows up at a clinic and does not have an ongoing relationship with the entity providing the vaccination.

    https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/travel-pass/

  10. I’m all in favor of the IATA travel pass. The problem in the USA is that we do not have a national data base list of those that are vaccinated. That was left up to each state to complete and some did it well….some very poorly. I hope there is a way to pull the correct information together, but I’m doubtful. Most countries in Europe have a central data base and may be ahead of us in travel passes even though they are way behind us in vaccinations.
    In the meantime we are left with paper documents which are subject to fraud. Just read some posts above.. We have travel planned to Italy, a European river cruise and a trip to Switzerland currently scheduled for late summer/ fall. None of those places are currently open to those from the USA. I don’t feel good about any of them.

    • Bill, I agree, I had a big trip to Europe planned last year and I have hesitated to reschedule until I’m sure I understand the rules. I personally am opposed to the travel pass etc. I have been vaccinated, I just don’t like giving big tech and government even more personal information unless it is absolutely necessary. To me these travel pass documents and apps are more of a “feel good” and will be used as a marketing message, than to actually improve the conditions from the pandemic. To me it seems clear. If the vaccines are in fact effective, I am already safer, what others do or don’t do will matter very little, because I’m vaccinated. If the vaccines are not effective, the virus won’t care if you have the IATA pass or any other pass, it may in fact create a false sense of security. We don’t even know how long the vaccines provide protection, these apps will cause confusion, and every state and country will have their “special” rules. It will make travel less desirable, not easier. Just my opinion of course, we will see soon enough, but I predict confusion and lawsuits if they try to roll this out large scale.

  11. FYI, I just read this on Nextdoor:

    “Office Depot is offering to laminate Vaccination Record Cards. One warning – my husband and I went to get both laminated (our shots were done at different locations) and my card has some info on a label that is heat sensitive. They showed me a card with the same type of label and the laminating process had turned the label black and the info could not be read any longer. ”

    I’m going to skip the free lamination offer.

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