The First Thing You Should Do When You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine Card

When you visit your health practitioner to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, whether you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one dose, or the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which both require two doses, you will receive a COVID-19 vaccine card.

But what is this card and why is it important?

The COVID-19 vaccine card helps you keep track of which vaccine you received, and when, and it also serves as a reminder for those who require a second dose. Once you're fully vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccine card will then serve as proof that you have been fully immunized. This will be crucial as the United States and the rest of the world begin to re-open and more extensive travel is permitted (via Philly Voice).

Amesh Adalja, M.D., FIDSA, an infectious disease specialist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security explains, "What these little cards have the potential to do is to make something like international travel easier by avoiding requirements for quarantine or testing" (via ABC News).

Given how important the COVID-19 vaccine card is, the very first thing you should consider doing after you get your first dose is to take a photo of the card, or make a copy in case you lose it. You will need this card again when you return for your second dose of the vaccine (via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What else you should do — and not do — with your COVID-19 vaccine card

Once you receive your card after your first dose, it's a good idea to keep it in your wallet. This way you can be sure to have it with you for your second dose.

But what about after you're fully vaccinated?

One thing you may want to consider is getting the card laminated to keep it in good condition, especially if you plan to keep it in your wallet. But before you laminate, make sure all the information on your card is correct. You should also make a paper copy of both sides of the card, as well as take a photo of both sides and email it to yourself (via MarketWatch). Alternatively, if you're concerned about the permanence of lamination, you could keep the card in a plastic sleeve, which will provide both protection and flexibility (via Yahoo!).

No matter how you choose to protect your COVID-19 vaccine card, don't forget that you should never post a photo of the card on social media. Letting scammers and hackers see your personal information undermines the point of protecting your card in the first place.