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January 08, 2022

These are some tips for proving you're vaccinated when going out in Philly

The city now requires everyone show documentation they have gotten their COVID-19 shots before dining indoors, going to the movies and attending events at some arenas and venues

The first phase of Philadelphia's requirement that people prove they are vaccinated in order to dine indoors, go to the movies or attend sporting events and concerts at indoor arenas started on Monday, Jan. 3, and this may have left some uncertain about the ways they can show they have received their COVID-19 shots.

Unlike New Jersey – which uses an app called Docket that allows users to upload their digital immunization records –Philadelphia officials did not unveil such a strategy to streamline the vaccination confirmation process at the time the city announced its mandate. And in Harrisburg, the idea of vaccine passports has state leaders so divided that there's little chance of coming together.

Soon, in the Philadelphia, people who do not have adequate documentation of their vaccination on hand when trying to enter places like restaurants, bars, arenas and theaters will be turned away at the door. It's important to getting into the habit of keeping all of your vaccine records in one place – and easily accessible – before heading out. 

Jan. 3 marked the first phase of the rollout of the city's requirement. Until Jan. 14, businesses also are permitted to accept negative COVID-19 tests taken within the 24 hours in lieu of proof of vaccinations. But beginning Jan. 14, negative tests will no longer be adequate, and proof of vaccination – fully vaxxed, not partially – becomes the standard.

Philadelphia's mandate does not require that people have received booster shots. 

Here are several ways you can provide proof you've been vaccinated when you're going out in Philadelphia. Note that no matter which of these methods you use, you're also going to need to show your driver's license or other ID card.

And if you haven't gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, Philadelphia residents can make appointments at any of the city-run clinics, and everyone can find a provider using the national database, which includes available vaccination appointments across the United States. 

Bring your actual vaccination card

The easiest and most straightforward way to prove you have received your shots is to carry your paper vaccination card that contains the records of each dose you have received.

Though, the cards are too big to fit into a standard wallet and can be easily misplaced or damaged, having this physical copy in addition to a driver's license, identification card, or passport can make things much easier. 

To keep your vaccination card safe, some people have elected to place them inside plastic sleeves since they are not meant to be laminated. Amazon sells 2-packs of clear, plastic, card holders for $7.

If you have lost or destroyed your paper card, there several ways you can get a replacement, but it's different for Philadelphia residents versus Pennsylvania residents anywhere else in the state.

Also, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking with your vaccination provider for assistance finding a replacement card.

Take a photo of the card and save it

Photos of vaccination cards are acceptable as proof you're protected against COVID-19. The method is simple and possibly more convenient than carrying around your physical car. Just snap a photo of the card.

For ease of access, save it either in your "favorites" or in a separate photo album. Then it can easily be pulled up at the door of the restaurant, bar, arena or entertainment venue without you having to scroll through thousands of photos to find it.

You will still need to show your ID.

Scan your vaccine card to your phone

For those looking for another digital method, documents can be scanned to smarts phones two different ways.

Anyone with an iPhone should open their Notes app and create a new note. Then tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen and select "scan documents" from the options that pops up.

Hold your phone's camera horizontally, making sure to get the entire card onto screen. The iPhone will take a photo scan of your document. Click "keep the scan" and the image will be inserted into the new note that was opened. That note can be pinned to the top of the list that appears when the app is opened, making it very easy to locate when you need it.

Android users can use Google Drive to scan their card. To do this open Google Drive, selecting the plus icon at the bottom right corner of the screen, then select the "Scan" option to open the camera. 

Take a photo with the entire vaccine card in the frame, then crop and re-scan the page with just the card in the frame. It will then save in Google Drive as a searchable PDF file. 

Download your digital vaccination record from MyChart

Multiple medical providers in the Philadelphia region use MyChart as an online hub where patient's can access their records and information, including immunization records. 

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, CVS Health, Prime Healthcare, myTempleHealth, Jefferson Health, and Tower Health all use MyChart for digital documentation. 

To access your digital file, download the MyChart app and enter your location. Then, scroll down to find the provider where you received your vaccine. Next, the app will prompt you to enter your account information and access your digital medical files. 

Once you've accessed the system, you can pull up your electronic health records and find your immunizations. Some providers, like Penn Medicine, have an entire section dedicated to COVID-19 immunizations. 

Once you find your COVID-19 vaccine information, you can share and export your documentation to your phone, and iPhone users can export the information into the Health Wallet app, where it can be easily stored and found when needed. 

Another option is for a user to download a zip file that contains all the documentation, which will have the COVID-19 vaccination record included. 

Some medical providers, like Penn Medicine, Prime Healthcare, Main Line Health, and Jefferson Health allow iPhone users to bypass the MyChart system and access their electronic health records directly from the Health app, which will allow them to display their vaccine information without downloading a separate app on their phone.