Be Careful About Posting Your Vaccine Card Online

With the United States being on lockdown for over a year, it’s safe to say that people are ready to return to an existence without fearing a virus. At one point there felt like no end in sight to this global pandemic, but now all Washingtonians are eligible to get vaccinated. When you get a coronavirus vaccine, the site provides you with a vaccination record card. The card keeps track of when and where you got vaccinated, intending to serve as proof when facilities open up in the near future. 

A woman having her blood drawn Photo by Obi Onyeador from Unsplash When I scroll through social media, I keep seeing my followers’ vaccination cards. Their intentions are honorable; it encourages others to get vaccinated while simultaneously telling them that the individual has the vaccine. It comes from a place of joy, but there is a lack of awareness that makes these posts a cybersecurity risk. One of the first rules of internet safety is to not leak your personal information online, yet our existence on social media has seemed to make us forget that. The card contains your full name, birth date, and medically sensitive information (including the clinic location and specific vaccine). A picture of your card can simply be screenshotted, and then it’s out of your control. 

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash Although this information doesn’t seem like much, it’s more than enough for identity thieves to execute security threats. According to a CNN article on the topic, a person’s name, birthday, and medical record number (which can be listed on the vaccine card) is enough information to gain access to confidential medical records. Even if your card doesn’t have a medical record number, identity theft can be executed by stealing other data and the information can be used to create or access accounts in your name. A picture of a card gives an identity thief all of your information in one place, which makes it easier for the criminal to target a specific person. 

coronavirus vaccine Photo by Hakan Nural from Unsplash I’m not saying that you should not celebrate your vaccination. After the year we’ve all had, we deserve to celebrate the little moments that mark the beginning of the end. All I’m saying is to be careful when posting about it. If you choose to post the card, you can easily redact personal information by cropping it out or using an editing app to blur or cover it. Or you can post something else entirely, like a picture at the vaccination site. Either way, remember to think twice before posting something online that has personal information.