Why does the US have such a low tech and easily forged vaccine card

Surely the richest country in the world and the planet’s most technologically advanced nation can do better than ** checks notes ** a a paper card with details filled in by hand.

A kid with some art supplies and a printer could forge this.
Couldn’t you have an App? Or linked to stuff like Social security numbers or licenses.

Since e-documents are legal docs, I took pictures of my card with my phone and filed the card at home.

In the few months since I’ve had mine, there has been no reason to show the card to anyone. So, I don’t see why a “better” system would be necessary. I don’t even know where my card is anymore. (Hopefully my wife put it somewhere safe)

A third of the US still does not have smart phones.

Then we get into problems with identity theft.

But yeah, I still think we could come up with something better. If we wanted to. Heck, we’re running into trouble convincing people to get vaccinated at all.

What do other countries have?

The card was never intended to be formal proof of vaccination. It’s just informal information for the patient’s personal record.

If you’re asking what is intended to be used as formal proof, the answer is, we have absolutely nothing at the moment.

Here in the UK, I was given appointments for my two jabs.
When I turned up on time for each, they just asked my address and date of birth.

They gave me details of which vaccine had been used, but no ‘identity card’.

I got my vaccine 3 months ago, and so far, no one at all has asked to see my card.

Not when I went my doctor for a checkup. Not when I went to the medical center for an endoscopy. Not when I went to the blood drive to donate.

They all just took my word for it. And I’m not happy about it.

This begs the question of when and why we would ever need to prove vaccination status. Until we’ve specified the problem, it’s hard to know what the best solution will be.

The most likely situation when proof of vaccination might be needed would be for international travel. That rules out domestic record-keeping, mapping to SSNO or anything like that, it would have to be some kind of internationally-recognized physical document. A stamp in your passport? It could still be forged, but everyone knows tampering with a passport is a serious matter.

May I ask why?

There is talk of some type of formal “vaccine passport” but nothing has been finalized yet.

However, here in Ontario when I got my first shot at a mass vaccination clinic, I was given a printed document with all the details. They had what was basically a kind of thermal printer similar to those used in cash registers. Not really intended to be high security, but not trivially easy to produce at home, either.

I couldn’t prove I got a flu shot either. Proof of vaccine hasn’t been a thing in the US in my experience, other than for school-aged children.

This…is much different than a flu shot.

Why do they trust me? If the rules are different for people who have/haven’t been vaccinated, then there should be at least some sort of verification, even if it is easily forged. Of course, I’d prefer a sort of verification that we more secure, but my point is that - and sorry to have to say it - the honor system doesn’t work so well.

I know several people who are not vaccinated, and plan to stay unvaccinated, and I suspect that some of them might lie about if if they were asked. The rules are loosening up, and there are places now where you’re allowed to go maskless if you’ve been vaccinated, and I fear that many people will take advantage and pretend.


The goal was to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible, starting with the people who needed it most. Establishing at the same time a standardized, nationwide system by which people could prove that they had been vaccinated might have made this more complicated and introduced delay.

Proof of some vaccinations is required for a Green Card. It was simplest to just get a second MMR jab since I had no proof of my childhood vaccinations.

My state is starting to implement things* that may require verification of vaccination, which the card seems likely to be used for. I don’t think the card should be referred to that way, as opposed to documentation, of which other kinds should be accepted. Or, something more secure should be created.

*In low risk counties, places with capacity limits can have a “vaccinated section” which doesn’t require distancing and doesn’t count toward the capacity limit.

But nobody’s asking to see proof, and there is no political will to ask for proof, or give most businesses, agencies, etc., the power to ask for proof. In Georgia, e.g., the governor has banned any state agencies from asking. So, why do we need a high-tech or high-security proof of vaccination?



This winter, my mother was asked whether she had her flu vaccine about 6 times. Every time, she said “yes”, and they believed her.

Most of the states (maybe all the states) maintain a vaccine registry, and if your gave id when you got jabbed, your info is there. That’s probably going to be the source for “proof” in the few cases that might require proof.

For one thing, because many countries are going to make it a condition for international travel.