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What happens if my dog ate my vaccine card?

Help is at hand.

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Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa holds his vaccination card after receiving his first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination in January 2021. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

With more Minnesota colleges and universities requiring students, staff and faculty to be inoculated against COVID-19, a vaccine card has become the all-important passport for entry onto campus.

But what happens if you lose it? Or the proverbial dog ate it? The 4-by-3-inch card handed to every vaccinated person is exactly the kind of thing that would be easy to lose, throw away, shred in the washing machine, or have slip through the sofa cushions.

So what do you do?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota is one of a dozen universities and colleges to require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated. SMC faculty and staff can seek exemptions. Deb Nahrgang, a SMU spokesperson, said the college is directing students and staff who have mislaid their cards to websites in their respective states where they can obtain new ones.

ALSO READ: Minnesota State Fair loses 150 vendors, exhibitors; reasons include COVID-19, staffing shortages

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For Minnesota students, COVID-19 cards can be obtained through the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection ; in Illinois, the Illinois resident Immunization portal ; in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Immunization Registry .

Saint Mary's is encouraging community members to get the shot, offering as an inducement the prospect of a "safe, uninterrupted, and personalized academic experience" if vaccination levels at SMU reach 85% to 90%. But students and staff can file for medical and non-medical exemptions.

The non-medical exemptions available to SMU community members are broad. They can choose to file for them for religious reasons, or "frankly, for any reason," Nahrgang said.

"Ultimately, this helps us both encourage to get the vaccine, but also helps us know the percentage of our students who have been vaccinated," she said.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is currently only requiring vaccinations and testing for students living in university-owned residence facilities and participating in intercollegiate athletics. They must also be vaccinated if their internships or clinicals require it.

Schools in the area impacted by mandates include Rochester Community and Technical College, Riverland Community College, Winona State University, and Minnesota State College Southeast.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, if people lose their cards between shots, they should ask for a new one when getting their second dose, and ask for the first dose to be recorded on it.

If a person hasn't had a second dose yet and needs information about the first dose, a vaccination record can be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health. To request a record, go to Find My Immunization Record .

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If the vaccine card is lost after a person has been fully vaccinated, a copy of the vaccine record can be sought at the same Find My Immunization Record .

A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota, which is mandating COVID vaccinations now that the Pfizer version has gotten full authorization by federal regulators, said the system is still working on the details of its vaccination status reporting.

But in the event of a lost card, a student can confirm their vaccination status with the university by referencing key information like the vaccine they received and the date it was administered.

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or mstolle@postbulletin.com.
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