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Where does one obtain an 'OFFICIAL' vaccination card that will be accepted for travel?

We were annual travellers to Europe for years until Covid caused us to cancel our much anticipated first time visit to Croatia and Slovenia. Now it has been two years and I think I have gotten "covid brain" . I have lost my confidence in trip planning and international travel. All the varying requirements make travel seem so overwhelming. I know it is impossible, but with countries
--even states, in U.S.--operating with different rules, it makes my head spin--it is all very confusing. Anyway, my question is for anyone who has already braved travelling during these Covid times. For the OFFICIAL paper showing that we have had both shots and a booster, do the authorities mean something other than the little card given at the time of the vaccinations where the person administering the shots hand-wrote what shot is was and the date,etc. ? I have worried that they want something more official than that since anyone could have written the info on the cards. And if that is the case, where does one get the OFFICIAL paper and how long will it take and is there a cost for it? I am thinking I need to contact the CDC probably ? We are leaving for Athens Greece in early May (hopefully!). Thank you.

Posted by
61 posts

My husband and I traveled to Italy in November 2021. Your official CDC card is the card you received upon your first vaccination and all vaccinations after that.
Italy accepted that card as our official CDC card along with our passport. It is the only proof of having been vaccinated they will except for Americans. Check with the location you had your vaccinations, you can get a replacement if you lost it.

Posted by
439 posts

Shar…so even though our CDC card “looks unofficial,” we treat it with respect. We put it in a plastic holder and kept it in our money belt along with our passport.

Posted by
5869 posts

Shockingly, yes, that scrap of cardstock or paper with handwritten scribbles or stickers on it, is you official proof that you have been vaccinated. One of the most technological countries in the world could come up with no better....because...you know...freedom?

I would also try to get a printout of your vaccination history from your Doctor, Pharmacy, Health Department, whoever might have the records, as back up, and in case there are other questions.

Most countries accept the card, some have you get a QR code from them, upon presenting your information, others have just rejected the card, requiring testing. All that though is settling down, restrictions being lifted, so maybe, other than for entry to the country, you will not need to show it multiple times a day.

Posted by
5625 posts

On our trip that started last September, the conductor on the train asked to see our documentation. This was in Italy, which was using a QR code on its citizens’ smartphones, or printed out on an 8x10 piece of paper. They called it a Green Pass. I mentioned that our CDC card (I kept mine in a clear plastic flexible pouch clipped to a lanyard around my neck, tucked inside my shirt) was the USA “White Pass.” He readily accepted it, but commented how it was funny that the high-tech U.S. didn’t come up with something more “official looking.”

As the trip went on over 5 weeks, more and more Italians at restaurants and museums had seen CDC cards on American tourists, so its legitimacy wasn’t questioned. Some museums wanted to see I.D. in addition to the CDC card. It’s now been an additional 5 months, so I’d think that Greek vaccination checkers will have been very accustomed to seeing, and recognizing, CDC cards as the official American proof of vaccination.

And as far as “official,” QR codes are so ubiquitous now, especially in advertising, so how is a picture of one on a smartphone any more official than a signed document? Old-school isn’t necessarily obsolete.

Posted by
5869 posts

And as far as official, QR codes are so ubiquitous now, especially in advertising, so how is a picture of one on a smartphone any more official than a signed document?

Because QR codes can be both loaded with information, and interactive; as well as very difficult to counterfeit. The information in a QR code can verify who your are, and in conjunction with the apps Europeans use to scan the code, can determine your level of vaccination, or in the case of a test, determine expiration dates. So depending on current requirements (Superpass vs Pass) can give a restaurant a simple Green "Yes" vs a Red "No"; it does not require "Mario" at the local trattoria to make a decision on the validity of the signed document you have (I could give you a signed document after all, it is what validates the document that matters).

Basically it is more than just the QR code, but the whole system they built to validate the data.

Posted by
9 posts

To all of you who have taken time to answer my question, I thank you!
Your answers have somewhat allayed my fears. I have spent so much
time on this subject until I think I have gotten "analysis paralysis". I was
most concerned that I needed to somehow get a QR code. I do not have
a smartphone (yes, there are still some of us around) My next worry
will be finding a convenient place to get the return home testing
and getting done and results received within the allotted time frame! Oh,
for the good old pre-covid days!

Posted by
125 posts

I checked with a Greek tour guide (one of Rick's recommendations) and she said our CDC card was good enough. As for a return antigen test, pharmacies aren't readily open on Sundays. We ordered emed.com tests and we'll be tested with a proctor online. You can do it on your phone (which you don't have) or on a computer. You can also get tested at the airport except lines can be long. Best to have an appointment.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank. you Sue. I wondered about getting the test at the airport, but I do imagine lines there would be long. They probably do not take appointments there either? So many details to worry about since Covid! I am so thankful for Forums like this where people are generous with their time and actual experience/knowledge or just encouragement for those of us still in the planning stages of a first time trip to somewhere.