It Just Got Even Easier to Get Backup Proof of Vaccination in Philly
Lost your vaccine card? Not to worry. If you got vaccinated in Philly, a replacement document is now just one click away.
With more and more businesses requiring proof of vaccination, CDC vaccination cards have been an indispensable addition to the “phone, keys, wallet” incantation you recite before you leave home. Sure, you may have a photo of your vax card on your phone. But if you want to patronize recently reopened cocktail bar Hop Sing, for instance, you’ll need physical proof of vaccination in hard-copy form. While that might seem needlessly annoying, physical cards do have an advantage: Unlike phones, they never die.
But they do get lost. And until recently, it hasn’t been especially simple to procure replacement proof of vaccination. First of all, neither the state nor the city health department can actually provide replacements for the CDC-issued vaccine cards. Only vaccine providers — pharmacies, hospitals and the like — can dole out the cards, and while the city health department has said that people may reach out directly to those providers to get replacements, some health-care groups are wary of giving out the cards lest they run out of stock. “We have only received one card per vaccine dose, so there isn’t an infinite supply,” health department spokesperson Jim Garrow wrote in an email.
So while it’s possible to get a vaccine card replacement directly from your provider, your only surefire bet to reaffirm your vaccinated status is to acquire what’s called an “immunization record,” which still counts as official proof of vaccination but arrives as a slightly less portable eight-and-a-half-by-11-inch sheet of paper and lists other vaccines you’ve received.
Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to get that immunization record if you were vaccinated in Philly. The city health department on Monday published a direct link to a form where you can fill out your information and opt to receive your proof of vaccination either in PDF format or through the mail. To obtain your replacement proof of vaccination, you’ll need to attach a copy of a valid photo ID to the application —anything from a driver’s license to a city ID to a permanent resident card. You can’t request the document on behalf of someone else unless you’re a parent or guardian of a minor.
If you want a more hands-on approach, you can still call the city at 215-685-5488 or email email@example.com, at which point someone will direct you to or help you fill out the application form. “This is an effort to remove barriers for folks who don’t want a back-and-forth with us and just want to directly request the records,” Garrow said of the department’s decision to publicly share the application link. Here’s a handy document with instructions (click below to enlarge) explaining exactly what you’ll need to get your new proof of vaccination.
It’s important to note that you can only receive your immunization record from Philadelphia if you were vaccinated in the city. Due to the large number of requests, it may be a week before you get your new immunization record. (A minor inconvenience, yes, but you can at least take solace in the fact that you aren’t alone in having lost your critically important vaccination document.) If you were vaccinated elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to use a different form that’s maintained by the state health department.
Lucky for you, there’s a direct link for that application, too!
Philadelphia magazine is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and economic mobility in the city. Read all our reporting here.