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Proving Vaccination

I’m seeing a lot of articles about countries reopening to vaccinated travelers from the US. As a vaccinated person from the US hoping to maybe, maybe, hopefully go to Europe in September, this is good news.

However, does anyone know how they are verifying vaccinated status? Like most Americans all I have is the standard CDC card, and my state is unlikely to authorize any use of the state database, if there even is such a thing. I will be reporting my vaccine to my primary care doctor so it will also appear in their records. In theory could I get on a plane with my passport and CDC card and be let in? This seems like a flimsy way to do it, but I don’t see any alternative on the horizon.

Posted by
15 posts

One thing we don't have to worry about once vaccinated is that the CDC automatically sends this info to all doctors' offices. I'm oversimplifying this info, but there's some big data base storing this info and it feeds into our doctor's office. Heard it from my doctor's staff when I started to tell them. They said it was already in my file.

Posted by
93 posts

I have heard many reports that the CDC card is perfectly acceptable and have even heard the only people who check it are the flight attendants before boarding (not the case for all countries but a few). Considering the whole reason to allow vaccinated travelers is to boost tourism, and that there is no international standard for proof as of yet, it would be counterintuitive for countries to make proving vaccination status more difficult thank showing the proof we already have.

Posted by
50 posts

Yesterday Spain announced beginning June 7 they are allowing vaccinated Americans and unvaccinated children traveling with vaccinated adults. They require our CDC vaccination cards apron entry and a provided health questionnaire. Austria also decided not to wait for the EU to formally announce. Looks like the “wall is falling down”. Yeah for us vaccinated Eurofiles.

Posted by
4300 posts

Spain has stated that it is welcoming UK citizens and without proof of vaccination or a requirement for a negative Covid test whereas Germany today has banned travel from the UK due to the rise in the Indian variant of the virus. Countries will decide themselves who to allow and when and also decide on what the requirements are for entry so there's clearly no "one size fits all" approach within the EU and it's evident that the rules can change at any time based on virus rates.

It's fair to say that those countries most reliant on tourism are being less stringent about requirements.

Posted by
582 posts

Rumor mongering: I saw a recent article that "counterfeit vaccination card" was among the higher ranked search terms on the google for the last several days. Editorially speaking, apparently those who don't wish to get vaccinated are more than willing to lie about it.

Related topic: how to store your vaccination card. Do not laminate because it might need to be used again someday (see those extra boxes?). Better method appears to be using a heavy waterproof ziplock available at office supply stores. And have photos on your phone of both sides of your card.

By the time my dear wife will allow me to travel again, I hope this will have blown over or there will be an internationally approved standard of proof for all types of vaccinations, not just for the covid.

Posted by
2916 posts

how to store your vaccination card. Do not laminate because it might need to be used again someday

I've seen reports that that's not an issue. But to be safe, I put mine in a plastic sleeve.

Posted by
2583 posts

"One thing we don't have to worry about once vaccinated is that the CDC automatically sends this info to all doctors offices." I did not see any information on the CDC website regarding this. Does Michigan have it’s own system? At this time I am not aware of a CDC data base or facsimile. What I do know is that their are some vaccination sites that are connected to healthcare facilities that have the ability to transfer vaccine proof to a healthcare record. For example, in Seattle, Virginia Mason held a "supervax" site that anyone could attend. Those patients who were affiliated with the system had their vaccine info. sent to their medical record. I had my vaccines there, but I am not a patient in their system. I had to report my vaccine status to my own healthcare provider. I checked my health record later through "My Chart" following notification to my provider. It was recorded in my health record under Immunizations. As of January 29, 2021 I found this link. I have yet to see any changes since. Time will tell. Hope this helps.

https://www.goodrx.com/blog/how-to-prove-vaccination-for-covid-19/

Posted by
50 posts

Bogiesan: I started thinking about counterfeit vaccination cards and came to a conclusion. Spain (and soon to become other countries) is not going to worry about an American solo traveler, couple or family presenting their CDC Cards apron arrival. After all, would someone who just paid $1500 or more per airline ticket really be “that counterfeit person”?
Just saying.....haha

Posted by
1751 posts

The CDC does not automatically send this information to your doctors office. The United States is not that organized. It is possible however that your state has a system where by when you enter into the vaccine, they use what is called a healthcare exchange, and All providers who logged into that exchange including your doctor can see your information

But, there are a lot of doctors who are not really looking we the exchange because their technology is not up to it. Do not assume your medical provider is automatically going to have your information

Posted by
9335 posts

The CDC is not keeping any records on people who were vaccinated. Only general demographic data.

States are keeping records and if you get your vaccine at a health care system your doctor is associated with it will probably be notified. But it is not automatic.

Posted by
5025 posts

I imagine record keeping varies all over, but in my State at least, what is collected is insurance information and the vaccination dispensing record retained at the pharmacy. Through your insurance information, it may also get to your family Doctor.

As for "proof", I agree, most everyone so far seems to be accepting the CDC card, and to be honest, as someone else intimated, I really do not think they really care that much, they take your word for it, just like at border control if they ask what your purpose for coming is...tourism, business, etc...they take what you say and move you on.

Posted by
6117 posts

One thing we don't have to worry about once vaccinated is that the CDC automatically sends this info to all doctors' offices. I'm oversimplifying this info, but there's some big data base storing this info and it feeds into our doct

I don't know that this is true. Perhaps in your state, but not where my parents live. As vaccination enrollments etc were handled state-by-state, i imagine that various states took different approaches to what information they collected. Oklahoma didn't even ask who my parents' general physician is, so I think it's up to them to inform him.

Posted by
6117 posts

would someone who just paid $1500 or more per airline ticket really be “that counterfeit person”?

Well, absolutely. Someone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated, but who wants to travel, is exactly the kind of person who would be looking on the black market for a card that would get them through.

Posted by
9335 posts

Insurance information was collected by some vaccination sites not so they can inform the insurance company but so they can try to bill the insurance company for administering the shot.(I asked why they were asking for this informtion and that is what I as told.)

Insurance companies cannot release health information to your doctor unless you give approval.

As for the concept of counterfeit cards.....yes it is possible but other countries will have no other choice but to either accept them or not allow Americans in.

Posted by
132 posts

All I can say is I carried the old yellow “yellow fever, etc.” booklet for years for both overseas business travel and overseas volunteering. That could have been counterfeited too, and probably was but it seems pretty rarely did that happen.

In my state, the county health department was informed if you were vaccinated but not your doctor unless you got your vaccination within their system. We got ours at county run clinics. So all we have is the CDC card and hope, at least for this year since we leave late August, that this will suffice.

Posted by
42 posts

I live in Michigan, and here we have a system called MCIR (Michigan Care Improvement Registry). This system DOES track vaccinations and health care providers in the state have access. So, if you get your vaccine in MI (Covid or otherwise) from any pharmacy, doctor’s office, Heath department, etc... it will be recorded and tracked. I found this out when I realized I’d forgotten my card when I went for my second Covid vaccine. My husband is a health care worker and has been vaccinated since January, but when MI opened up vaccines to everyone 18+, it was fairly chaotic. It seemed I couldn’t get an appointment anywhere - and then suddenly one of the local Native American tribes opened up a public Moderna clinic 2 1/2 hours away. It was an act of gracious generosity that still makes me a bit emotional to think about. Anyway, that’s how my daughter and I ended up driving 2 1/2 hours to get our vaccines - and I realized 1 1/2 hours in on our second trip that I’d forgotten our cards. I was particularly concerned, because I was worried about needing them for proof of vaccination to travel - and I didn’t want our cards to be odd - like needing two cards a piece, for instance. Turned out to be no problem. They looked us up in MCIR, re-printed the first dose, and added our second one. Grateful for good neighbors, and systemic organization that I didn’t know existed! Hoping to travel soon.

Posted by
128 posts

Among my vaccinated acquaintances, some people report that their Dr. received the information and some not. I had to provide hy primary care doctor's name, office addres and phone for both the first and second Moderna shots, but as of two months later, the doctor had received nothing but did add what I provided to my medical records. I guess it varies.

Posted by
3493 posts

I got my Moderna shots on 2/25 and 3/25. Both were done at a drive-through venue operated by Banner University Medicine/University of Arizona in Tucson.

I'm a long-time patient of the U of AZ's medical services, but that was not a requirement for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines. We all got cards with detailed stickers for each shot. I carry mine with me all the time.

Banner has a sophisticated patient portal which includes vaccinations and each Moderna shot is listed there. I much appreciate the ability to get access to so much information about my health online this way. I'm sure others have similar access. I'm equally sure that many unfortunately don't. And that makes getting health information much more difficult and time consuming for the patient.

I doubt that it will happen anytime soon, but surely with all the digital and scannable options these days, a similar version of the vaccination document is possible. Or maybe a credit card style and sized insert or tap and show plastic card would work. I'd gladly pay for either or both of those. In the meantime I'll carry my CDC card along with a printed copy of my recent and permanent vaccinations.

Posted by
25136 posts

It is rather interesting here in England. We have each had a paper NHS (National Health Service) card since the first jab. It has the Name, NHS number, date, type of vaccine (AZ for me), and lot number . When the second one came along the information for that was on two lines below. I was called by the NHS when it was time for me to go online and book the appointment at one of half a dozen convenient locations, and by logging in with my NHS number they knew about eligibility and medical conditions. We have had a NHS Covid app which is used to check into places by scanning a QR code, which is linked to the Trace and Isolate folks and the local statistics of infection. After the second jab our normal medical records NHS app - a different one to the Covid app - allows viewing of the vaccinations in lots more detail and can print a travel certificate with QR code in the French sort of model, even though the official UK government line is that we won't have "vaccine passports". So one arm says, "never happen", and the other arm produces it and has now started advertising it. Hey ho....

Posted by
875 posts

I got my vaccine through my work. When I went to my next physician appointment the record of my vaccine was on my print out. I had not reported it to my doctor, so the notification was made automatically in my case. I was happy about this because it seemed to be better proof for traveling purposes than my CDC card.

Posted by
79 posts

Vaccine providers should be reporting to the state health department, according to my public health department nurse daughter. What gets reported and where it might go from there depends on the states.

In Oregon:
My wife and I got our shots at a drive-through mass vaccination clinic run by Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). My vaccination showed up on my OHSU "MyChart" page. I snapped a picture of my CDC card and sent it in a message to my PCP, who is part of The Portland Clinic (TPC, not affiliated with OHSU). My PCP nurse replied she had added to vaccination to my record at TPC. After the second shot I just messaged my PCP I had gotten the second shot. Both jabs show on my MyChart vaccination page.

My wife, however, did not had a medical record at OHSU. A couple weeks ago, however, she checked her MyChart account with her PCP (with Providence health, also unaffiliated with OHSU) and found her vaccinations had made their way to her PCP records without any action by her.

Generally: If you have online access to your health care provider (e.g. MyChart or equivalent), check to see if your vaccination shows on your records. If not, I would message your PCP, notify them you are vaccinated, and ask that they verify with the state and add it to your records. Then there should be an official medical record that would carry more weight if the CDC paper cards become untrustworthy.

Posted by
4300 posts

As Nigel has explained. UK residents have the option to download the NHS app which allows you to view your medical records, book appointments and receive reminders and order repeat prescriptions. It's a very useful app to have which I use primarily to order prescriptions which are then usually delivered the following day which saves traipsing down to the pharmacy. Just recently the government added another function which is the ability to prove your vaccination status by provision of a QR code, the dates of vaccination and the vaccine manufacturer. This occurred despite the government stating that there would not be 'vaccination passports'. However, with such a centralised health system it is evidently easy enough to collate the required information and link it to an individual's app profile.

I'm due to travel to Spain on June 11th and the Spanish authorities do not require evidence of vaccination or a negative covid test which, in my opinion, is a sensible option as not everyone can or wants to receive a vaccine.

Posted by
32 posts

Agree for the medical records check: At least for the state I am in - when i got the results back from my blood test - in my profile online was my vaccines - and the 2 COVID shots I got were there, date, time, where, what kind, reference number, etc. So if you have one, check your health profile website and it may be there more officially than a CDC card.

Posted by
25 posts

"Do not laminate because it might need to be used again someday (see those extra boxes?)."

This is a non-issue. You'll more than likely get a new card issued to you in the event of booster shots. I laminated mine after the folks at the vaccination site told me to. I just wish they made the cards CC sized.

Posted by
68 posts

I haven't read through all the replies to this question.
The basic problem is that the EU wants to have digital proof of vaccination on your cell phone.
Is that possible yet for Americans or is this all futile until something is figured out. Everyone seems to ignore this hassle.
Hopefully I am missing something and I can download a digital verification of my shots.

Posted by
9335 posts

The basic problem is that the EU wants to have digital proof of vaccination on your cell phone.
Is that possible yet for Americans or is this all futile until something is figured out. Everyone seems to ignore this hassle.
Hopefully I am missing something and I can download a digital verification of my shots.

No, so far the CDC card has been accepted as proof. In many cases, the actual card. No cellphone photos.

Posted by
7764 posts

Mira, to answer your question, yes, all you need to enter many EU countries is a negative Covid test and your CDC card. My son and 3 friends flew to Lisbon then on to Paris yesterday/today with no issues at all. Italy is opening to all American tourists tomorrow 6/19 with the same two requirements - no more quarantine on top of that.

Your CDC card, which is irreplaceable, just became your most important item for International travel - a passport can be replaced. THAT has caused me much stress, knowing that little card is irreplaceable.

Posted by
49 posts

Susan - you can get a Covid vaccine replacement card. Check with your vaccine provider. In NJ, there's a database of all who get vaccinated.

Posted by
9335 posts

Depending on where you live, your state or county has a record of your Covid vaccines and all pertinent information. Additionally, the place where you got your shot should also have a record. As an example, the pharmacy where I got my shot has a digital record of the information pertaining to my vaccine as does the state. (I've seen them both.) With that, you can get a replacement card.

In California you can now get a digital record with QR code. While it is not necessary for international travel, that information would probably help in getting a replacement card. No word on whether they will accept that in lieu of the white card.