With the delta variant continuing to cause a spike in COVID-19 cases, more schools and businesses around the state are now requiring people to mask up or get vaccinated — sometimes both.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden also announced that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID or submit to weekly testing.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, there are approximately 4,800 businesses and 1.4 million workers in Minnesota that fall under this mandate.
To prove their vaccination status, some places are requiring guests to show their physical vaccine card or a photo of the card on a mobile device.
But what if you misplaced or threw away your paper card? How can you prove that you’ve been vaccinated?
Don’t worry — you’ve got a few options. But whatever you do, don’t buy a fake one off the internet.
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I lost my vaccine card. How can I get a new one?
People who have lost their vaccine cards before getting their second dose can ask for a new card at their second vaccine appointment. If you need to do that, make sure that the first dose is also recorded on that new card.
The Minnesota Department of Health does not have replacement cards for those who have lost their COVID-19 vaccine card or for those who have ended up with two vaccine cards. However, you can review your vaccine history through the Minnesota Department of Health’s Find My Immunization Record.
Last week, the state launched a new app called Docket allowing people to view and access their immunization records — including for COVID-19 — instantaneously. Users will be able to save a PDF document of their records.
Health care providers, pharmacists and other practitioners submit vaccination information to the state database called the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) every time they administer a shot.
“The Docket app gives Minnesotans a digital option to access their immunization history in MIIC, check what vaccines you or your children may be due for, and see what vaccines you may need in the future,” said state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann. “This is vital to making sure people are protected from preventable diseases.”
What shouldn’t you do: Buy a vaccine card off the internet
As more places require proof of vaccination for entry or work, fake vaccine cards are circulating.
In May, the owner of a Northern California bar was arrested after authorities say he sold made-to-order fake COVID-19 vaccination cards for $20 each.
In June, a naturopathic physician in Northern California was arrested on charges she sold fake COVID-19 treatments and vaccination cards.
In August, after two tourists were arrested after allegedly using fake vaccine cards to travel into Hawaii, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on federal law enforcement agencies to target online sales of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and start a campaign making it clear that forging them could land people in federal prison.
The unauthorized use of the seal of an official government agency such as Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a federal crime that carries a possible fine and a maximum of five years in prison.
In March, the FBI said that fake COVID vaccine cards have a negative impact on public health. “By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others at risk of contracting COVID-19,” the agency said.
How Facebook, Amazon and other social media platforms are cracking down on fake vaccine cards
E-commerce and social media sites are taking notice as well.
An Amazon spokesperson told NPR that they “do not allow the products in question in our store. We have proactive measures in place to prevent prohibited products from being listed and we continuously monitor our store.”
Facebook also says it does not allow anyone to buy or sell COVID vaccine cards.
State attorneys general are also paying attention to the issue.
In April, a bipartisan coalition of 47 state attorneys general, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, sent a letter to online platforms Twitter, Shopify and eBay, urging the companies to “take immediate action to prevent your platforms from being used as a vehicle to commit these fraudulent and deceptive acts that harm our communities.”
MPR News reporter Catharine Richert and The Associated Press contributed to this report.