With COVID-19 infections on the rise largely among the unvaccinated population, more places in Maine and across the nation are requiring proof of vaccination.
That ranges from schools, to employers, to even music venues.
But what happens if you lost your vaccination card? COVID-19 vaccines became available to certain essential workers and vulnerable Mainers in January, and to the general adult population in Maine four months ago. That’s more than enough time to lose track of a piece of paper for even the most organized among us.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know to recover your vaccine card and where you may be asked to present it.
What is a vaccine card?
You should have gotten one when you showed up for your first inoculation, whenever that appointment was. It’s a record of what COVID-19 vaccine you got (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson), how many doses you got (two of either the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna or one of the Johnson & Johnson) and when.
How do I get a replacement?
If you can’t quite recall where you last saw your vaccine card, you have a couple options for replacing it.
First, you can contact the organization (Northern Light Health, MaineHealth, etc.) that ran the clinic where you got it and ask if it can issue a replacement for you, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
But if that doesn’t work, you can also fill out an authorization for release of information form from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and either fax it to 207-287-8127 or email it to immunizeME.DHHS@maine.gov.
If you don’t have the internet (yes, some people don’t), you can call 1-800-821-5821 to request a replacement from the Maine Immunization Program.
So have no fear, you can get a new one.
Where do I have to show my card?
There’s not yet any mandate — except for certain front-line workers — for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and hence a need to show proof of vaccination.
Mask requirements were lifted for vaccinated Mainers in the spring, but everyone’s under the honor system (though face coverings are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in all but two of Maine’s counties).
Absent a statewide mandate, more places across the state are requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment, schooling, or service.
Nearly all Maine higher education institutions, as of last week, are requiring students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall, while others are requiring students, staff and faculty to be fully vaccinated. Those that haven’t required staff and faculty to be vaccinated have asked them to voluntarily comply or are negotiating a requirement through collective bargaining.
Proof of vaccination is not yet widely required by employers, but a growing pool of them have elected to do so for some or all of their employees, including many with a footprint in Maine, such as Tyson and Walmart, and others more local such as the city of Portland.
In a few places, even customers are being asked for proof of vaccination, including Bangor Arts Exchange, the State Theatre in Portland, Thompson’s Point, the Portland House of Music and the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club.
Maine was also one of the first states to mandate all health care workers, including those in hospitals, nursing homes, health care agencies, paramedics and dental practitioners, be vaccinated against the virus by Oct. 1.