In the early stages of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, you may have seen recommendations and reports to laminate your vaccine record card and carry it with you like you do other forms of identification.
Stores like Staples and Office Max are even offering free lamination services for vaccine cards.
The logic behind lamination was you may find yourself in a situation where you need to present proof of vaccination and having a laminated, protected card would allow you to easily store it in wallets or purses.
But as with a lot of guidelines and instructions during the pandemic, that logic is changing.
Though the Centers for Disease Control has not given any guidelines on what you should do with your card once you are fully vaccinated, the emergence of COVID-19 variants and the need for possible boosters have led many to offer a different opinion when it comes to lamination.
Jon Albrecht, the Chief Pharmacy Officer at Methodist Health System, points to the two empty fields labeled “other” at the bottom of the card as the reason why you should not laminate your card after you have completed vaccination.
“Those empty slots are if we need booster doses, and if you laminate the card, it is going to be hard to add the booster doses to it,” explained Albrecht.
Vaccine manufacturers are studying the potential benefits of boosters and the possible impact they could have on the new variant strains of the virus that are growing more and more dominant.
It is still unknown if and how often boosters might be needed but the uncertainty is why Albrecht recommends against lamination.
This could leave many people who already laminated their cards quite incredulous but if you have a laminated card and boosters become necessary, Albrecht said it should be a fairly easy fix.
“What we have been doing at Methodist is if someone shows up and needs a new card, we can look them up in our computer system and populate a new card for them.”
That should also be the case for most vaccination hubs and centers according to Albrecht.
Instead of laminating your card, he recommends small, protective plastic sleeves that allow you to slip your card in and out, similar to the blue sleeves Methodist has made available for patients after getting their shot.
As for where to carry it, Albrecht believes you should treat it much like another important document.
“Treat it just like your passport," he said. "Most people do not carry around their passport everywhere they go but they keep it in a safe place.”
Other medical experts have also recommended taking a picture of your card so you have the information on it stored digitally as well.