The pandemic isn’t over yet.
The delta variant is contributing to a surge of new cases of COVID-19 throughout the country, including in the Philadelphia area where increased transmission is the current reality.
And now, some businesses — from local restaurants such as Martha in Kensington to Broadway theaters in New York — are instituting proof-of-vaccination policies that require you to show your vaccination card (or a picture of your card) to enter.
Vaccination cards, though, are just made of paper, and sometimes things happen — they can be lost, damaged, or destroyed.
If you lose or damage your vaccine card and need a replacement, there are a couple ways to get a new one in Pennsylvania, depending on whether you got vaccinated in the city of Philadelphia or outside Philadelphia.
Here is what you should do if you lose or damage your vaccination card.
If you were vaccinated in Philly, contact the city’s COVID Call Center
If you got your vaccination at a pharmacy or health clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends contacting the pharmacy or clinic.
But in Philadelphia specifically, you can now have your card replaced by calling the city’s COVID-19 Call Center at 215-685-5488, or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That’s if you’ve lost your vaccine card, or it was damaged,” acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said. “Our staff will walk you through the process, verify your address, and figure out the best and quickest way to get your records to you.”
As Bettigole said at a press conference, that route is the “official way to request your immunization record” in Philadelphia.
“That’s if you’ve lost your vaccine card, or it was damaged,” Bettigole said. “Our staff will walk you through the process, verify your address, and figure out the best and quickest way to get your records to you.” Note that this record is not a copy of the card you received when you were vaccinated, but it will still show proof of vaccination.
Previously, the city recommended that folks in need of replacement vaccine cards contact the clinic where they were vaccinated and ask for a new one, as Jim Garrow, communications director for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, recently told the Inquirer.
If you were vaccinated outside of Philly, go through the state immunization information system
The CDC notes online that you can also try going through the state’s immunization information system, which in the commonwealth is known as the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS). PA-SIIS is an immunization registry system that is operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and collects and organizes vaccine history information.
Maggi Barton, deputy press secretary for the state health department, recommends going through the state Department of Health’s PA-SIIS system and skip trying to go through your vaccine provider if you were vaccinated outside of Philly.
“If Pennsylvanians need a copy of their vaccination status, they can request a copy of their vaccination records by visiting the Department of Health’s website,” Barton says. “Individuals should contact us at the DOH for these vaccination records.”
To do so, you can email the PA-SIIS at email@example.com, and you will receive a form to fill out and send back to get your vaccination records. While there is no defined timeline for a response, Barton says that the DOH “will respond as soon as we can” and that the department is “currently working to improve this process.”
People who go this route can specify how they’d like to receive their vaccination records, such as via mail or email, Barton says.
Can I use PA-SIIS if I was vaccinated in Philadelphia?
No. The PA-SIIS is only for people who were vaccinated outside of Philadelphia, Garrow says. So, if you were vaccinated in the city, you should start by going back to the place where you were vaccinated, rather than using the state system.
“The PA-SIIS is only useful for folks that were vaccinated outside of Philly, so if folks were vaccinated in one of the suburban counties, that will work,” Garrow says. “In Philly, in the near-term, the pharmacies and health clinics that [you] originally were vaccinated at should have the capacity to provide new cards.”
What if my name is spelled wrong or has changed?
Folks who have misspellings on their vaccine cards or have changed their names since being vaccinated can get new, corrected cards.
If you were vaccinated in the city, Garrow says that you can contact the city’s COVID Call Center, and they “will be able to help with errors or updates.”
Outside of Philadelphia, Barton says, the PA-SIIS is the way to go.
“All changes for information, name, demographics, etc. are made through PA-SIIS,” she says. “The department takes every effort to ensure revisions are made when requested.”