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Vaccine requirements are becoming more common. Here's what you need to know

Across the country, various activities require proof of vaccination. The Minnesota Department of Health says you should take good care of that vaccine card.

MINNEAPOLIS — Increasingly, proof of COVID-19 vaccination has become an entry ticket for many activities across the country.

Here in the Twin Cities, First Avenue's venues require either a negative test or vaccination proof. When Canada opens next week to tourists, you'll need to present your proof at the border crossing. And, if you travel to New York City this summer, you'll need to be vaccinated to visit a restaurant or a gym.

So take good care of that vaccine card.

"Bottom line," Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said, "that card is one of the more important pieces of medical information that you have."

The health department suggests you take a picture on your phone as a backup. 

"I took a picture of mine on my smartphone," Ehresmann said, "so that I had it digitally as well as a physical card."

Some municipalities and states, like New York with the Excelsior Pass, have introduced apps to store vaccine information. Minnesota does not have anything like that yet, but Ehresmann did not rule it out, saying in an interview that "Minnesota certainly is looking at all of the options to make sure people have access to their vaccine information."

In the absence of an app like that here, what happens if you lose your vaccine card? 

If you're between doses, you can simply ask your health provider to update your information and get a new card when you get your second shot.

If you're fully vaccinated already and lost your card, the health department suggests you first call the health care provider or pharmacist where you obtained your doses originally. However, you can also request your immunization records through a private state-run database, known as the "Minnesota Immunization Information Connection." The state can provide you with proof of your prior COVID-19 vaccination, although this could take up to two weeks, at least. 

"That's not going to be instantaneous. We've had a lot of requests recently, so we're a little bit behind," Ehresmann said.

But at least there's a remedy if you've misplaced that ever-important vaccine card. 

"'If you're like, I just can't find it right now, there are ways you can get a copy,'" Ehresmann said. "Certainly a health care provider, pharmacist, or at the Department of Health. We'll help you get that." 

Wisconsin has a similar state immunization database, which can be viewed here.

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