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Thinking of laminating that vaccine card? Pinellas, take a picture instead.

Pinellas health officials have received a handful of complaints that laminating the cards rendered some information illegible.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card is expected to be increasingly important as proof of vaccination as the United States moves into the next phase of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card is expected to be increasingly important as proof of vaccination as the United States moves into the next phase of the pandemic. [ EJ HERSOM | Defense.gov ]
Published Apr. 1
Updated Apr. 1

If you’re thinking of having that vaccination card that proves you got your COVID-19 shot laminated, you might want to hold off — at least in Pinellas County.

Pinellas health officials have received a handful of complaints from vaccine recipients who said once their cards were laminated, some of the information on them was illegible.

Bigger than a credit card, a vaccination card is given to a vaccine recipient as a record of their first and second COVID-19 shots. The card notes someone’s name and date of birth, where and when they received their inoculations and which company manufactured their doses.

The cards are expected to be increasingly important as proof of vaccination in the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tom Iovino, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, said some vaccination locations are using labels printed with the vaccine manufacturer and lot number and affixing them to vaccine cards. The problem appears to be that the labels were made on a thermal printer, and the lamination process uses heat.

“If it’s printed on a thermal printer, if you go to laminate it (and) heat up the label, it will turn black,” Iovino said — as in, a square of black instead of letters and numbers.

Staples and Office Depot recently offered to laminate completed vaccination cards for free.

Iovino advised taking a cell phone photograph of your vaccination card instead, and also making photocopies for safekeeping. He advises treating it like your Social Security card: “Just keep it someplace safe with your birth certificate,” he said.

The Pinellas health department has gotten about 20 reports of this problem. As of Thursday, nearly 295,000 people had received inoculations in Pinellas County.

A spokeswoman for the health department in Pasco County said they had heard of a few cases in which the lamination process affected the print on someone’s card.

It was unclear Thursday if officials in Hillsborough County had received similar complaints. A spokesman for the department did not return calls and emails.