Looking forward to our upcoming Ireland trip. Do we need to bring our original vaccination card (for Rick Steve's or trvael in general), or are photocopies/ pictures of it on our phones okay? Would hate to lose the original one. Thanks for all answers!
I would have the original vaccination card for travel. There are several passport covers out there that have a space for your passport on one side and a space for your vaccination card on the other. I think keeping them together will help keep your card secure.
Carry the original with your passport ON your person, preferably in a money belt
Very likely you’ll never be asked to show your vax card other than for flight (if still required)
I have used my original card only at the airport.
Then it goes into my neck wallet and I keep a copy in my day bag in case I'm somewhere that needs to see it.
No one has ever questioned the copy, home or abroad, but I don't want to take a chance at the airport.
I was in Ireland for a week in June and didn’t have to show it once. I’d still bring the original and keep a picture on my phone in case I loose it.
Good practice is to always have the original. The problems with copies is now easy it is to make a forgery of the card. So if the card is critical no one is going to trust a copy.
I was flying out of Atlanta several months ago and got to watch "drama" in action.
Family had flown Southwest to Atlanta to connect to a Delta international flight. All but one person had the vaccination card. One member had taken a photo of their card and happily showed it to Delta on their phone and got told "no" Screaming and drama ensued. The result 4 of 5 family members got a boarding pass and the screamer was trying to find a flight back to Florida to pick up the card and try to connect with the family (I would assume at some expense)
This is a quote from a recent email from RS Tours about what's expected vis-à-vis your question and other COVID requirements. My Best of Ireland in 14 Days tour begins on 24 July. This email was dated one month before, on 24 June
"Pre-Tour COVID Test Required: Because we want to ensure the health and safety of your group — and provide a successful tour for you and each group member, we are requiring all tour members to complete a COVID test prior to joining their tour. Please bring a COVID self-test to take on the first day of your tour prior to the start of the welcome meeting. Take a photo of your test when the instructions indicate the results are ready, and show the photo and your CDC vaccine card to your guide prior to entering the meeting. If you do not have a camera please bring the test itself, showing the results, to the meeting. If you’ve had COVID between 14 and 90 days prior to the start of your tour, you’ll also need to bring a COVID recovery letter signed by your doctor, in case you continue to test positive."
Toward the bottom of the email, it says this,
"Remember to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card and medical grade (N95, KN95, KF94) masks."
No mention of an on-phone option in either place.
I'll be bringing mine as well as a paper copy of my SMART Health Card that has all 4 shots printed and is much easier to read. It also has a QR code. I have digital copies of all these things on my phone and tablet as well. Redundancy is good. But original documents are probably better.
I keep those 2 documents in a holder like this, along with a copy of my emergency info that includes my contact information, my doctors and all my not normal blood test numbers.
That holder will go in my money belt like this along with my passport and the other things that I want to keep safe but accessible if needed. Obviously, the money belt goes under my clothes, not like what the picture shows.
From our recent trip to Europe and Turkey about 6 weeks ago, I can tell you that if they want to see your vaccination card, they want to see the original. Be it airlines, governmental agencies etc.
Losing your card is a concern, but be prepared. Bring and use the original, have pictures as back-up, and we had our Pharmacy print out our vaccination records that contain all the data on the card plus some. In most cases the vaccination record will work in lieu of a card (Entry requirements of other countries do not specify the CDC card, just what information is needed, but they are now accustomed to the CDC card)
If you really want to have a back up, you can go onto the CDC website and get a template to print your own card, https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/112473 I would use cardstock, and transcribe the information to that second card, verifying accuracy. Stick that one in deep storage. Your Pharmacy may also make up a card for you possibly.
As others have mentioned, the card has been needed less and less, or not at all, but with a resurgence, requirements may be re-imposed, so best to have it at all times.
I also have a copy of my vaccination record from the state of Georgia. I believe all states have these registers and it would be a good place to get an official looking document.