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As the first wave of people eligible for a COVID vaccine booster start to get their shots, it’s time to dig out those vaccine cards again! When you return to get your booster shot, you’ll need to bring your vaccine card with you — just as you did for your second shot of a two-dose series — so that your personal record can be updated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On the original card, you’ll notice spaces clearly labeled for the first and second doses, which were filled out when you were first vaccinated. Beneath that, there are typically two lines labeled “Other” — that’s where the person administering your third shot will record it. At the same time, your record will be updated with the vaccination site, whether that’s a pharmacy, a state health organization, or another health system. Depending on the laws and rules of your specific area, the information may also be kept in city or state databases, which may allow you to access your vaccine record online.

What happens if you laminated your vaccine card after your first doses? There’s no federal guidance on this, but Pennsylvania health officials told the Philadelphia Inquirer that you should still bring your card with you to your appointment, or even try to get a replacement ahead of your booster. (Your vaccine provider should be able to issue one.) It’s also possible that you could be given a new card at your appointment, but it’s best to play it safe and have a backup plan.

Once you’ve received your booster shot (and updated your vaccine card), the same advice applies for keeping it safe as it did with the initial vaccination. Take a photo of your card in case you lose it, and store the physical copy somewhere safe, like with your other medical records. You may also want to get a protective sleeve or other cover for the card to keep it from getting damaged, but avoid laminating it.

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