No, COVID Vaccine Cards Are Not A Passport To Get Into Bars And Restaurants

by Leah Groth
EJ Hersom/DOD

Every person who receives the COVID-19 vaccine will be handed a reminder card

As the United States continues to battle COVID-19, currently experiencing record highs of infections and deaths, the impending vaccine has many hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, it’s important to remember that once a vaccine is available, immunity will not be immediate with at least two of the vaccine candidates — Pfizer and Moderna — requiring not only a first vaccination but also a booster. If someone fails to return for a second shot, they will not be protected from the highly infectious virus. So, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and Operation Warp Speed have created an old school way to remind people to come back for a second dose of the serum: paper cards.

Wallet sized paper cards will be part of the vaccination kits — also including syringes and needles, a surgical mask and a face shield — sent to medical providers and pharmacies. Written in both English and Spanish, the cards will contain all the information about the vaccine, including medical information, who administered the shot, and when. That way, if you forget about your booster, you will be reminded when you open up your wallet.

“Everyone will be issued a written card that they can put in their wallet that will tell them what they had and when their next dose is due,” Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, explained to CNN. “Let’s do the simple, easy thing first. Everyone’s going to get that.”

According to Moore, patients at many vaccination sites will also be asked for their cell phone number so that a text message reminder can also be sent. Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, added that every dose administered will be reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so they can keep track of who is vaccinated.

It’s important to note that the cards won’t be a “vaccine passport,” which has also been discussed, primarily by the airline industry as a way to screen passengers who have already completed the vaccination process.

“These are just for the person to have something to remind themselves of what vaccine they got that they can give to the provider when they come back to get their second dose,” L.J. Tan, chief strategy officer of the Immunization Action Coalition, a nonprofit vaccination advocacy group, tells NBC News.

According to the latest reports, the first batch of vaccines could be available as soon as next week. In a 13-to-1 vote, the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices of the CDC determined that healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and other residential care facilities — the people who are at highest risk of COVID-19 infection — will be first in line. Experts hope that there will be enough doses in the spring for the general public.

While many people are skeptical of the vaccine’s safety, top health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the CDC, have both given it their endorsement. Additionally, former President’s Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, along with President Elect Joe Biden, have all vowed to get their vaccines on camera once it is officially approved by the FDA.