GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As more Americans head to destinations within the US and beyond one of their main concerns is COVID.
Will they need proof of their vaccination status to visit? And if so, what happens if they lose it?
Most people know to double-check with airlines, states and countries to see if they need to be vaccinated before traveling -- and they know to carry proof with them.
If you misplace or lose yours before your trip you can ask for a replacement.
“When I first talk to somebody I really want to gauge a level of their comfort,” said Sue Ball of Sphera Travel in Grand Rapids.
She just opened her location back in March and is now helping clients navigate their vacations during a pandemic.
COVID-19 is a big topic of concern.
“Are they going to be able to stay in a destination for two weeks should they have to quarantine? Perhaps they have kids at home and they can’t do that,” said Ball. “So, I really work with them to gauge their comfort level that’s gonna work best for them.”
She also helps clients figure out protocols for traveling like if they’ll need a negative COVID test or have to bring proof that they’re vaccinated.
“Normally we’ll go to the airline -- there’s a website called Sherpa so we’ll check that and always go to their destination directly so either to their health department or their tourism board and they’re going to have their exact protocols for what you need,” said Ball.
If you lose your card the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services suggests calling the site where you were vaccinated to see if they have copies.
You can also request an official immunization record from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry.
“I will tell you that currently we are inundated with requests for replacement COVID-19 vaccine cards,” said Mary Wisinski, immunizations supervisor for the Kent County Health Department.
Whether you got your shot at a mass clinic or local pharmacy you have options if you lose it.
“A lot of it is, ‘I was going to travel and I went to look for my card and I can’t find it,’ or ‘my card went through the wash’, or ‘my purse was stolen and my card was in it’”, said Wisinski.
So far the department’s already replaced 300-500 COVID vaccine cards. There’s only one person to do it with Wisinski serving as the backup. Turnaround time is usually 1 to 2 days.
The first option for a replacement in Kent County is to contact your doctor.
You can also visit any health department clinic with your ID or submit your request by email.
You’ll need to send along info including date of birth, address and photo ID.
“Some of them want the white card not the MCIR record and so, if anyone is traveling, I would make sure you know ahead of time what they’re going to accept for your proof of your COVID vaccination so you’re not caught short when it’s your day to travel.”
Especially if you’re flying out of the country – always double-check your destination’s requirements.
“People just really have to be flexible and keep their eye on the destination. Getting there is the good part but the travel to and from is what’s difficult,” said Ball.
Some airlines have ways to digitize your card on their app so check with your carrier.
Also, check with the location where you got the shot.
CVS says vaccine records can be sent to you if you signed up with an email address.