What Should You Do If You Laminated Your COVID-19 Vaccine Card?

Close up of a white person's hands holding a laminated COVID vaccine card.

Viorel Poparcea / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Your COVID-19 vaccine card serves as proof of vaccination and is your medical record of which shot you received and when you received it.
  • If you laminated or lost your vaccine card, you should be able to obtain a replacement through your vaccine provider or state health department.
  • If you are eligible for a booster dose, bring your card with you—even if you laminated it.

If you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should have received a card created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This vaccine card documents important information about the doses you received.

To keep your card protected, you may have laminated it. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now authorized a booster dose for everyone ages 12 years and older who completed their initial COVID-19 vaccine series.

According to the CDC, you are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot if you are 12 years and older and:

  • Completed the Pfizer or Moderna primary vaccine series at least five months ago
  • Received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago

Additionally, the CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer vaccination series.

Eligible individuals 18 years and older are able to choose any authorized COVID-19 booster. However, the CDC recommends individuals get the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following concerns about blood-clotting side effects. The Johnson & Johnson shot still remains an option for those who are not able or willing to get a different vaccine. 

Adolescents ages 12 to 17 who completed Pfizer's primary series are only eligible for the Pfizer booster.

People 12 years of age and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise and all people age 50+ who have received an initial mRNA booster dose at least four months ago are eligible for a second booster dose.

Adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago can now receive a second booster using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’re now eligible for a booster shot, you might be wondering how new dose info will be recorded on the card.

“If you lost, laminated, or otherwise mangled your vaccine card—no problem,” Kathleen Jordan, MD, senior vice president of Medical Affairs at Tia, tells Verywell. “All vaccine sites have the ability to make you a new card.”

Archivists and some public health experts have warned against laminating vaccine cards, since it could smudge the print or damage the card over time if you’re seeking to preserve it long-term. More immediately, lamination makes updating information on the card difficult, though there are ways to work around this issue.

Your Vaccine Data Is on Record

Although the CDC tracks how many people are partially or fully vaccinated for COVID-19, it does not maintain a national record of who those people are and their dose information. But your vaccine card is not the only record of your personal COVID-19 vaccination information.

“The active record will be kept with the vaccinating site, whatever health system or pharmacy organization that may be, or county health board,” Jeff Pilz, PharmD, assistant director of pharmacy at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Verywell.

You should bring your card with you to the vaccination site if you’re scheduled to get your booster dose, even if you laminated it.

“If they’re using stickers,” Pilz says, “they may be able to apply that over the lamination, or they may be able to fill out a separate CDC card and just staple that or somehow affix that to the back of the laminated one.”

In some cases, records are part of citywide or statewide databases. For example, New York City uses a system called Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR). “Vaccinators are required to enter your vaccine data—within 24 hours of administering it—to a vaccine database,” Jordan explains. “So your vaccination records can be accessed electronically anytime 24 hours or more post an injection.”

Jordan says the CIR database helped her accurately reissue cards while working at vaccine sites.

Not all municipalities use a database like CIR. But if you lost your card, you can call ahead to a vaccine administering site, such as a pharmacy, and see if the staff has a way to access your COVID-19 vaccination record. If they cannot, you can contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to IIS and related systems, says the CDC.

If, after receiving your first dose, you enrolled in V-safe or VaxText, you can also access information about doses and dates through those platforms. However, these tools cannot serve as official vaccination records.

Kathleen Jordan, MD

If you lost, laminated, or otherwise mangled your vaccine card—no problem. All vaccine sites have the ability to make you a new card.

— Kathleen Jordan, MD

Will We Always Need COVID-19 Vaccine cards?

Even though your vaccine information should be on record with your state’s immunization reporting system, you should still hang on to your card as a personal record of your COVID-19 vaccine doses. However, Jordan suspects that electronic records will become more commonplace.

“Now that one of the vaccines is formally approved by the FDA and more mandates to vaccinate continue to be announced, the electronic systems to support these mandates will become our new normal,” she says.

She says paper cards have been falsified or shared, creating a need for more secure ways of documenting proof.

“Two weeks ago in San Francisco, I had to enter my name and date of birth to trigger a texted QR code showing my received vaccine schedule and then had to show my ID with a name matching my QR code—all to join a friend for a few minutes at a local bar/restaurant,” she says.

But even if, down the road, electronic formats become the general way to show proof of vaccination, Jordan plans to keep her card as a relic of sorts. “It will be a timestamped memorabilia to help us remember this incredible pandemic journey,” she says.

What This Means For You

Don’t worry if you laminated your COVID-19 vaccine card. If you’re eligible for a booster shot, bring the card with you to your appointment. You will either be issued a new card or the provider will add your additional dose information to your existing card via sticker or another method.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC strengthens recommendations and expands eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC endorses ACIP’s updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC recommends additional boosters for certain individuals.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine records for adults.

By Jennifer Chesak
Jennifer Chesak is a medical journalist, editor, and fact-checker with bylines in several national publications. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School. Her coverage focuses on COVID-19, chronic health issues, women’s medical rights, and the scientific evidence around health and wellness trends.