How to fix covid vaccination card error?
August 27, 2021 5:42 AM   Subscribe

For my second covid vaccine shot, it was at a remote site and "the printer was down" so they didn't put a sticker with the vaccine batch number and just wrote the date with pen... which looks like *I* just wrote the date with pen. Will this become an issue for future international travel?

They also wrote the date for the second shot on the back instead of the spot on the front, so a quick glance makes it seem I'm only half vaccinated until I explain.

I don't even know who I talk to get a new card that looks more formal. I don't even have travel planned, but I'm anxious for a future catastrophe where I get turned away at an overseas airport because it looks fake.
posted by bluecore to Health & Fitness (23 answers total)
FWIW I don't know of anyone here in Wisconsin that has a sticker or anything printed on their card. All cards I've seen have dates, names, etc simply hand written in pen.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:48 AM on August 27, 2021 [27 favorites]

I'm surprised yours was printed at all. My vaccination card is completely handwritten, for both shots, and so is everyone else's I know (in New York City).
posted by branca at 5:48 AM on August 27, 2021 [15 favorites]

All vaccine cards I've seen are handwritten. Mine is. My girlfriend's is. All the ones I've seen on Facebook are. Haven't seen a sticker and/or machine printing on a single card.
posted by jdroth at 5:52 AM on August 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

There's no need to worry about this because it's pretty easy to get a new card. Talk to your PCP and find out if they can look you up in the state vaccination database. At least here in MA, I've heard that they can write out another card for you if needed.

That said, one of my shots has a sticker and one was handwritten and it passed with no problem when I used it to enter the EU (I don't think that would work any longer since now the EU is requiring negative tests for people from the US, even if vaccinated).
posted by peacheater at 5:53 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Same in Virginia - they've all been handwritten.
posted by brilliantine at 5:56 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

There's supposed to be a sticker?

Not a thing to worry about.
posted by intermod at 6:01 AM on August 27, 2021

I vaccinate at a local pharmacy, and for the big advertised vaccine sessions in March and April we printed stickers to make it faster for the vaccinators and the patients. It saved huge blocks of time when we had 4 vaccinators, lines snaking nearly around the block in the chilly wind, and a big heated tent outside for the wait period. Since things slowed down, we reverted to hand written info.
posted by citygirl at 6:17 AM on August 27, 2021 [6 favorites]

Here in Georgia, my vaccine card is all handwritten as is those of my closest family. Our vaccines were done by either one of the big hospital systems or by local pharmacies. We all recently traveled and had to provide proof of vaccine and we had no issues.
posted by ReiFlinx at 6:26 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

One of my stickers is on the front, and the other is on the back. They hand wrote the date and site next to the first sticker on the front. At my second appointment, they hand wrote the date and site on a new line on the front of the card, but put the corresponding sticker on the back. I then had a third booster, and they hand wrote all the information underneath the second sticker on the back.

I think they did stickers at the big mega sites, especially if you got vaccinated earlier. You should be able to get a new card from your primary care physician, but these kinds of human errors are very normal, and customs officials particularly are used to seeing a wide variety of acceptable things on forms of this nature. The vaccination cards that we are using and carrying around now may not be our permanent records for travel and passport purposes in the future anyhow; it's likely that we will have some kind of a mobile pass available at some point. I did upload photographs of my vaccine card to my work database and it was accepted without issue, for whatever that's worth.
posted by twelve cent archie at 6:30 AM on August 27, 2021

My card is all handwritten info. I too feel like it makes it look a bit fake! But it's real and all I've got! (that plus the record in the Wisconsin immunization database)
posted by dis_integration at 6:32 AM on August 27, 2021

Here in Colorado at the major health system, I have stickers for each vaccine batch, handwritten dates from the person administering each shot, and they told me to write in MY OWN NAME AND BIRTHDAY MYSELF! I mean, I'm sure they have me in some database somewhere, but.
posted by mochapickle at 6:48 AM on August 27, 2021

Connecticut, fully handwritten. You should be fine.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:33 AM on August 27, 2021

It sounds like the slot on the front for the second dose is still open? If I were you, I would copy the information from the back onto the front myself -- that should help it look a little more standard.
posted by bergamot and vetiver at 7:35 AM on August 27, 2021

I looked at literally 100 different vaccination cards yesterday from people all over the US and this has not been standardized at all. Many are hand written. It's fine.
posted by phunniemee at 7:38 AM on August 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mine in California is handwritten, no stickers. However, there's a statewide website you can go to to get your proof of vaccination downloaded to your phone, complete with a QR code for someone to scan to verify it if necessary.
posted by erst at 7:53 AM on August 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another datapoint that everything on my vaccination card is handwritten and it was fine for international travel earlier this month (to the EU).
posted by Caz721 at 8:50 AM on August 27, 2021

Mine is all handwritten. The person administering the shots wrote in the dates and batches, and I was instructed to fill out the top myself, which I did. My card is from DC, and I had no issues using a photo of it to enter a vax-required event in another state last week.
posted by decathecting at 8:55 AM on August 27, 2021

If I were you, I would copy the information from the back onto the front myself -- that should help it look a little more standard.
Just a note that you shouldn't write on your vaccine card! That actually messes with your record and your record is fine as it is now. All the information is already there, and the "explaining" you have to do is minimal ("they put the second shot on the back!") But officials who are looking at these cards are going to see huge variations in the way things are documented and they will know to flip the card over and look at the back before assuming that (1) you're not fully vaccinated; or (2) the card is fake.

I might gently suggest that international travel was already pretty stressful pre-covid, and if you're anything like me, dealing with Official Government Employees In Uniforms With Stern Faces Making Decisions About Me (like customs officers) has always made me anxious. The idea of traveling now or in the future is just so much more fraught because of covid. You may be putting some of your more general nerves about flying/traveling post-covid on the state of your card. "This is something I probably shouldn't be doing" is going to be a feeling that likely follows many of us around, even after being in public is legitimately safe again, and "this card is going to prove that it is not ok for me to be out" is a perfectly reasonable thing for a brain to construct as a rationale for that very real feeling of "wrongness" that we will have when re-entering the world again.
posted by twelve cent archie at 9:41 AM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am currently traveling in Italy and my hand-written vaccine card (from California) has been perfectly acceptable for travel, museum/event entry, and restaurant entry (I'm only eating outdoors, but some ask just to get inside for paying, etc.). My card has a date sharpie'd out and corrected, and my name/d.o.b. look like a child wrote it. What has been important is that my name/d.o.b. match my passport, which must be presented alongside the vaccine card for it to qualify as a "green pass" in Italy. YMMV in other countries.
posted by niicholas at 12:32 PM on August 27, 2021

California card was hand written, but there's also a state vaccine QR code that verifies that info that I can get off the state DOPH website. It's NOT on the card.
posted by kschang at 6:08 PM on August 27, 2021

Ditto. I had issues with the California digital proof, put in my info and they couldn't find it. Go through the remediation thingy they offer and upload photos of card and driver's license, wait a week or so and all fixed.

Check to see if your state has a vaccination record department (surely they do) and just make sure you're in there. Then you should be able to get digital proof (maybe) or a nice duplicate/replacement for a lost card.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:47 PM on August 27, 2021

The card is your record. It is not intended to be proof of vaccination.
posted by kindall at 9:18 AM on August 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

The only thing printed on a sticker on my card is the vaccine batch info. The date of vaccination and location are written by hand. This was in NYC, and I have traveled internationally using it for vaccination verification. You should be fine.
posted by bedhead at 2:19 PM on August 28, 2021

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