While the debate over mandated "vaccine passports" rages on, a growing number of employers, businesses and venues are demanding proof of vaccination. That's making it increasingly important for workers and customers to carry documentation that can be whipped out whenever the need arises.
Here are some suggestions to ensure that vaccinated people are always covered.
Old fashioned paper cards
Everyone who gets at least one inoculation gets one of these paper cards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, at 4-by-3 inches they are larger than the average wallet, which means they're bound to suffer some abuse. The good news is they can be easily protected from everyday wear and tear with a little extra care.
One option is to get the card laminated. Some office supply stores, such as Staples, were offering the service for free earlier this year but now are charging about $3 per card.
What about a digital card?
Yes, we do live in the 21st century! And some states, counties and cities have made it quite easy to get a digital COVID-19 vaccination record that can be stored on a smartphone or computer or be printed out.
Some states make these available through their department of health websites, while others have linked the vaccine records to digital state IDs. You can run a search for the name of your state and the keywords COVID-19 vaccine digital record.
Walmart and Sam's Club allow users to store their COVID-19 vaccine records in a pharmacy account on Walmart.com or Samsclub.com. The company says the vaccine record can be printed, saved on a device, or shared.
While all of the digital records vary slightly, the general procedure requires a person's first and last name, date of birth, email or phone number, and maybe a PIN to access a personalized link.
The digital cards themselves contain the recipient's full name, date of birth, the vaccine manufacturer and dates the shot or shots were administered. They also include a scannable QR code. Users are directed to store the card on their phone — either within an app or take a screenshot for easy access.
You may also want to reach out to your vaccine provider and ask whether a digital card is something they now offer.
Additionally, Apple's fall iOS15 software update will allow users to store the information in its upgraded Health app.
Take a glamour shot of the card
In a pinch, a photo of the CDC-issued card can also work. Just make sure it is easily accessible by putting it in a recognizable album as this reporter learned the hard way. (Found it after 20 minutes of scrolling through my photos.)
Another option is to scan a photo of the card into a Notes app and then pin the note so it can be quickly retrieved.