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Here’s the Worrying COVID Vaccine Card the Government Is Planning To Issue

The rollout challenges on COVID-19 vaccines aren’t just logistical. There’s also the matter of uptake.

While the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were both over 90 percent effective in trials, polls found Americans divided over whether they’d take the vaccines for themselves. A survey from Pew Research, conducted between Nov. 18 and Nov. 29, found that 60 percent of Americans would definitely or probably get the coronavirus vaccine compared with 39 percent who definitely or probably wouldn’t.

This is up from 51 percent who said they would definitely or probably get it in the same poll in September, but it’s not a ringing endorsement — particularly given the poll was conducted after the Pfizer and Moderna trials showed the vaccines were effective.

So, what’s the best way to shore up confidence in the vaccination process?

Not that. Pretty much the anti-that, in fact.

When the first images of the cards were rolled out by the Department of Defense on Wednesday, Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, told CNN they were the “simplest” way to keep track of when one had received the shots.

“Everyone will be issued a written card that they can put in their wallet that will tell them what they had and when their next dose is due,” Moore said. “Let’s do the simple, easy thing first. Everyone’s going to get that.”

The card will be included in a vaccination kit with a needle, a syringe, alcohol wipes and a mask.

To a certain extent, reminders and coordination will be needed. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 inoculations require two doses staggered 21 and 28 days apart, respectively.

“Because different COVID-19 vaccine products will not be interchangeable, a vaccine recipient’s second dose must be from the same manufacturer as their first dose,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tongue-trippingly titled “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations” reads.

“Second-dose reminders for vaccine recipients will be critical to ensure compliance with vaccine dosing intervals and achieve optimal vaccine effectiveness. COVID-19 vaccination providers should make every attempt to schedule a patient’s second-dose appointment when they get their first dose.”

All right, except for this, as per CNN: “Vaccination clinics will also be reporting to their state immunization registries what vaccine was given, so that, for example, an entity could run a query if it didn’t know where a patient got a first dose.”

Also this: “Moore said many places are planning to ask patients to voluntarily provide a cell phone number, so they can get a text message telling them when and where their next dose is scheduled to be administered.”

Now, NBC News made sure to highlight that “These vaccine cards are not intended to be used as a vaccine passport to get into bars, restaurants or airports.”

“These are just for the person to have something to remind themselves of what vaccine they got that they can give to the provider when they come back to get their second dose,” the Immunization Action Coalition’s L.J. Tan said.

If this truly isn’t a matter of a vaccine passport but rather a redundant step in tracking who receives what dosages when, and we’re all just conspiracy theorizing and freaking out over nothing, there’s a very easy way to put an end to that kind of speculation: The CDC can explicitly state the cards aren’t to be used by establishments, public or private, to grant or deny access.

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