Taking Care of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card

In the increasingly paperless world in which we live in, the importance of one’s little white vaccination card is a little alarming. Here we offer a compilation of tips for keeping it safe and tracking down a new one if the inevitable occurs.

To start, background. 

The vaccination card tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. The card was originally intended to remind individuals of the date and time of their second dose appointment, but now it is serving as proof of vaccination, which can score treats such as a Krispy Kreme donut, and may also enable access to events and activities requiring proof of vaccination.  There is room on the card for additional information, i.e. booster shots if needed in future years, so it might be best to keep unlaminated for now. (If you’ve already laminated, don’t worry.)

Tips of the Vaccine Trade

  • Take a photo of your card. Take one photo after your first dose, and a second photo after your second dose. (Unless you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single-dose vaccine, in which case one photo will do!)  If you’re already fully vaccinated, take a photo now.
  • Make a physical copy of the card. (Or two.)  You can keep a copy  with you, and leave the original in a safe place. (Unless you’re cashing in on your Krispy Kreme donut, which requires the original.)
  • Contact your primary care provider and make arrangements to send them a copy for your official vaccination records.
  • If you can, proactively help your parents, grandparents and elderly friends and relatives make digital copies of their vaccination cards and send it to their health care providers, too.
  • Don’t share your card digitally, as it contains personal information and is uniquely yours.  

OK. You’ve Gone and Done It. You’ve Lost Your Card.  (Or Never Received One in the First Place.)

That’s OK. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. If you lose your card, you should contact the place you received your vaccination and ask for a replacement.  

If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card at your appointment, the CDC recommends that you contact the vaccination provider site where you got vaccinated or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.  All COVID-19 vaccination providers are required to report data within 72 hours in their state’s immunization system, so there should be a back-up record of your vaccination status there. The CDC has provided a list of the Immunization Information System (IIS) in each state, which is where to start if you need a replacement card and either can’t remember where you were vaccinated or have difficulty contacting the facility.

If you were vaccinated at a pharmacy chain, ask if you can have a digital copy of your vaccination record.

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More Than Just the Winter Blues

New England is known for its many charms: traditional architecture, town greens, historic sites, autumn’s kaleidoscope of colors, and the richness of four distinct seasons: hot, sunny summers; snow-laden winters, and the welcome blossoms of spring.

For many each year, however, the arrival of colorful leaves and crisp fall air brings a painful reality called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of recurring depression signaled by the change of seasons which typically starts during late fall or winter. While scientists are unclear precisely what causes some to develop the disorder, they do know that women are more likely to suffer from SAD than men, that a shortage of Vitamin D (which the body produces when exposed to sunlight) exacerbates it, and that those afflicted may produce more melatonin than non-sufferers.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI), individuals living in New England, Alaska, and other areas farthest from the equator, are more likely to experience SAD due to the shorter days and reduction in sun strength during the fall and winter months. And this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing increased isolation, limited activity, and enhanced tension, symptoms of SAD may be more pronounced than ever.

NAMI encourages people to be aware of the symptoms of SAD — low energy, low mood, decreased interest in normal activities, agitation, anxiety, or hopelessness, to name a few — and take steps to address them.  

A long dark winter can be tough in the best of times. This year, which is anything but, be sure to keep an eye on yourself and your mood and take action.  Engage in social activities. Connect virtually or make plans with immediate family and friends. Maximize light at home and spend time outdoors. Take care of yourself and contact your physician or a mental health professional if you’re struggling to rise above. You’re definitely not alone. 

For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder visit www.nimh.nih.gov.