Because at least two of the Covid-19 vaccine candidates need multiple doses, health officials have developed an old-school method to help Americans keep track of the vaccination schedule: paper cards.
The cards are part of vaccine kits developed by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Department of Defense, and the Warp Speed Operation Department, which will be sent to medical providers and pharmacies. The kits also include syringes and needles, a surgical mask and a face shield. The record card, written in English and Spanish, contains medical information about the vaccine administered, the date of administration and from whom. The cards are designed to remember your wallet when the second shot is due.
On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said at a roundtable in Memphis, Tennessee, that “we will be distributing tens of millions of Covid vaccines to the American people within days”.
Historically, similar cards have been used to help patients and physicians keep track of vaccination schedules, although these have largely been replaced by electronic records.
“It’s not a cheap idea to give adults who have been vaccinated,” said LJ Tan, strategic leader of the Immunization Action Coalition, a nonprofit vaccination advocacy group.
Two vaccine candidates are being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose 21 days after the first, and the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after the first. Since Pfizer and Moderna recordings are not interchangeable, people need to make sure that the two recordings are from the same company.
It is not clear whether vaccination cards are only for those who receive Pfizer and Moderna shots. Another vaccine candidate, Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to submit preliminary data on its Phase 3 trials in January, is likely to need one dose versus two.
No vaccine passport
These vaccine cards are not designed to be used as a vaccine passport for access to bars, restaurants or airports.
“These are just to give the person something to remind themselves of what kind of vaccine they have received, which they can give to the provider when they return to receive the second dose,” Tan said.
Concerns have been raised about two-shot vaccinations and whether people will miss the second dose or do the wrong job, but Dr. Jason Hove, a family doctor at UCLA Health, says it’s about motivation.
“People will be motivated, it will be in their heads,” he said. “Given the fact that we’re in a pandemic and its severity, I don’t know how much we really need to remind people of the second dose.”