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October 04, 2023

The CDC is no longer distributing COVID-19 vaccination cards

The cards provided earlier in the pandemic are not required to get the new booster shots

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer providing the COVID-19 vaccination cards that had been distributed to people when they received shots during the pandemic, the agency said.

The paper cards kept official records of coronavirus vaccinations and any additional booster shots that people received. Those who still have their vaccination cards are advised to hold on to them, but having a card is not necessary to get the new booster shots at major pharmacy chains or health clinics.

The CDC does not keep vaccination records, so those who want copies of their records are advised to contact their state health department's immunization information system. States cannot issue new vaccination cards, but they can provide digital and paper copies of full vaccination records. Philadelphia residents can request their records through the city's health department.

The CDC recommends people keep vaccination records and provide them to primary care doctors to help inform medical decisions. 

Although major pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens do not require vaccination cards for booster shots, those who have them can still bring them to be updated when receiving their boosters.

Vaccination cards were introduced in late 2020 as a way for people to provide proof of vaccination at places where it was required at the time. At some vaccination sites, people getting shots may still receive new cards if the clinic still has them.

The new COVID-19 shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, available at pharmacies across the country, are recommended for everyone 6 months and older. 

COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have declined over the last year, but the virus continues to evolve and has mutated into more than two dozen variants. Over time, immunity from previous shots wanes and changes in the virus make people who were previously vaccinated or infected more susceptible to new infections.

The new COVID-19 shots were reformulated to target the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which was dominant earlier this summer and closely related to the subvariants currently circulating.

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