Dependent upon your destination, proving that you are up-to-date with vaccination may be required of you. While the CDC paper card may suffice in some instances, others could find themselves in legal difficulty if they misplace or lose it.
Digital verification apps–commonly known as “vaccine passports”–can make this process simpler for you, depending on where and how you plan to travel. Your best choice depends on where and how you will get there.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, verifying your vaccination credentials can still take time and effort. Start by researching whether your state offers a vaccine registry or app to allow citizens to verify their vaccinations or if the pharmacy or clinic where you received shots offers a digital record system that you can utilize.
Some states provide apps, such as New York’s Excelsior Pass or Hawaii Safe Travels; venues, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, require visitors to bring a paper CDC vaccination card or their phone with a COVID-19-verified digital record or take photos of a QR code as proof. Publicly traded security company CLEAR is working with various sports teams and venues to make verification faster.
At airports or train stations, you may also be required to present proof. Some countries also have specific rules regarding visa entry requirements. When traveling outside the U.S., travelers should contact their government’s Department of State for further guidance regarding any potential requirements for their destination country.
Vaccine records are maintained by state and regional agencies that do not use QR codes; instead they maintain vaccination registries corresponding to each state and region. Start with your organization that administered your shots or visit this official CDC list of vaccine registries near you to locate one near you.
Regional registries may also provide you with an electronic proof of vaccine for travel document known as a PVC, or Proof of Vaccination Credential, with information such as your name, date of birth, vaccinations received and administration dates included on a QR code document.
Many vaccinated Americans receive a paper card as proof, but carrying it around can be cumbersome and easily falsified. Therefore, in addition to having PVCs handy it’s wise to also keep backup documentation handy; such as taking photos of the CDC card in question on your phone can often suffice as valid forms of evidence.
As there is currently no single, harmonized digital vaccine pass in the US, airlines and private businesses are working toward simplifying vaccination-verification requirements for travel. A quick web search should reveal any relevant government pages for your destination; for an organization who administered your shots directly. As one example, Clear, which provides security screening stations commonly found at airport terminals, recently launched an initiative allowing Hawaiian travelers to upload their records directly into its app.
Vaccination certificates may be accepted by venues that have tightened restrictions during the pandemic, including museums and concert halls. They can also be accepted by companies that require their employees to present proof of vaccination; just make sure it complies with your employer’s system, and keep a backup copy handy should something go amiss with your smartphone device.
Proof of vaccine status can come in various forms; even something as basic as a paper CDC card may suffice in certain instances. Many opt to keep their card handy in their wallet while others snap a pic with their smartphone camera – The CDC offers multiple solutions on its website.
Each state, territory and protectorate has its own vaccination registry that provides digital proof of your shots. Because there is such a diverse array of systems to deal with, Vaccination Credential Initiative created an open format standardization standard; Walmart vaccination sites utilize that standard.
Some states are rolling out apps that store this information digitally and eliminate the need to carry around a physical card. It’s essential to gather all your credentials because two years into this pandemic, venues and employers still require vaccination verification; additionally, social distancing or wearing masks may be necessary if you haven’t had your vaccinations yet.