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Better Business Bureau: Don't Post COVID-19 Vaccine Card on Social Media

vaccination certificate

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Key Takeaways

  • The Better Business Bureau advises against posting a picture of your vaccination card on social media to prevent identity theft and vaccine scams.
  • Instead, they are promoting vaccine stickers to help spread the vaccine word without sharing private information.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising people not to post their COVID-19 vaccination card on social media due to the private information featured including your full name, birth date, and where you received your immunization, which can make you vulnerable to identity theft and possible vaccine scams.

Although the personal information listed on the vaccination card isn’t more than what many people have already posted on their various social media accounts, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains that tidbits of personal information like this can help identity thieves put together a profile of a person, making it easier to steal your identity and access your personal accounts. 

“I took mine [photo] down after I heard that people were possibly stealing photos to make false vaccine records,” Stephanie Van Derbur, RN, a patient placement coordinator at HCA Healthcare in Utah, tells Verywell. “But I did post about my experience to spread the word.”

What This Means For You

Make sure to check your privacy settings on all your social media platforms. Be cautious of the amount of information you post on social media as it enables those that want to steal your personal information. Share a picture of your "I got vaccinated" sticker instead of a photo of your vaccine card.

Vaccine Scams

Historically, a public emergency usually attracts the work of scammers who try to take advantage of the vulnerable, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. 

The BBB cited a news report detailing a scam that sold fake vaccination cards to people on eBay and points to other COVID-19 related scams including: 

  • Clinical trial scams 
  • Contract tracing cons 
  • Counterfeit face masks
  • Government agency imposters

The BBB advises that you stay alert to these scams, avoid sharing personal information on social media, and make sure your privacy settings are strict to help prevent you or your personal information from falling victim to a scam. 

Social Media Safety

Both the BBB and the FTC are promoting the use of stickers to help share your vaccination milestone and encourage others to get vaccinated. Stickers, similar to the familiar "I Voted" stickers, can help spread the word without sharing any personal information. 

The BBB recommends the following tips on how to share safely on social media: 

  • Share your vaccine sticker or use a profile frame instead. Share a photo of your vaccine sticker or set a frame around your profile picture.
  • Review your security settings on all social media platforms. If you only want friends and family to see your posts, be sure that’s how your privacy settings are configured.
  • Be wary of answering popular social media prompts. Think twice before participating in other viral personal posts, such as listing all the cars you’ve owned (including makes/model years), favorite songs, and top 10 TV shows. Some of these “favorite things” are commonly used passwords or security questions.

Sharing Your Vaccine Experience

With COVID-19 vaccinations now being administered and developed around the world, we're making progress against the pandemic. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine acceptance is the next hurdle we need to overcome.

It is not enough to just provide information on the vaccine; we also need to utilize the main factors that drive vaccination acceptance and behavior—an enabling environment, social influences, and motivation.

According to a recent 1,000-person Verywell Health survey, people are more likely to say they'll get the COVID-19 vaccine if they know someone else who has already been vaccinated. Sixty-one percent of respondents who know a vaccinated person say they’d get vaccinated themselves, while only 46% of those who don’t personally know a vaccinated person say they will.

The WHO explained on its website that “by making vaccine uptake ‘visible' to others, through clinics in prominent public places or by enabling ways for people to signal that they have received the vaccine—on social media, in news media or in person—we can contribute to making the social norm more salient.” 

Despite the BBB's recommendations, many will still continue to share their vaccine cards as a way to share their experience with others. If you do decide to post it, consider blocking out your personal information or adjusting your privacy settings.

“I think publicizing the [vaccine] experience is good,” Elizabeth Hanes, RN, a former nurse and freelance health writer, tells Verywell. “Aside from the concerns noted above, if posting at least part of your vaccine card provides a fun illustration, then why not?” 

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Article 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. The Better Business Bureau. Don’t share your COVID-19 vaccine card on social media. Updated on January 29, 2021.

  2. The Federal Trade Commission. Social media is no place for vaccination cards. Updated February 5, 2021.

  3. Better Business Bureau. BBB Scam Alert: COVID clinical study scams promise big bucks. November 6, 2020.

  4. Better Business Bureau. BBB Scam Alert: COVID contact tracing work inspires copycat scams. June 5, 2020.

  5. Better Business Bureau. BBB Scam Alert: Preparing for mask mandates? Watch out for online cons. October 6, 2020.

  6. Better Business Bureau. Government impostor scams prey on fear during pandemic, BBB study finds. July 29, 2020.

  7. World Health Organization. Vaccine acceptance is the next hurdle. Updated on December 4, 2020.

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