Opinion: Think twice before posting your vaccine card

There’s no question that getting your COVID-19 vaccine is exciting. You probably spent hours scouring the internet for one of the highly coveted appointments. You dream about life after getting vaccinated, when the world will finally go back to normal.

When the day arrives, you’re given a card. That card states the brand of vaccine you received, as well as the vaccine lot number, the day you received it and where the shot was administered. It helps keep a record of your vaccination. 

Thrilled that they were able to get vaccinated, many people are quick to take a photo of their vaccine card and post it to their social media accounts to share the good news. Some also hope that by posting a picture of their card, they will encourage others to get vaccinated as well.

However, your vaccine card also contains a lot of personal information, so posting it for the world to see is not a safe idea.

Along with the COVID-19 vaccine information written on the card, it also states your full name and date of birth. While that may not seem like a big deal, identity thieves only need little information to cause damage. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft.” Scammers could guess your Social Security number just by knowing your date of birth and where you were born. 

Even sharing the vaccine lot number and the location you received the vaccine can be dangerous. Hackers can use that information to create a phishing scheme designed to steal your data and passwords by getting you to click on a link they send from a spoof email address that appears it is from your vaccine location.

Some cards may also contain an individual’s medical record number. Thieves could use this, along with their name and date of birth, to gain access to sensitive medical information.

And what about social media privacy settings? Surely if you’re only posting your vaccine card where close friends and family will see it, you should be fine, right? Think again. 

According to CNN, “security experts have long said the people most likely to commit identity thefts are friends and family.”

With the excitement of getting vaccinated and our tendency to share our lives on social media, it is easy for us to forget the dangers of posting our personal information. However, it is something to be aware of. You can still share your excitement and urge others to get vaccinated by posting a picture of the Band-Aid over your injection site or of the vaccine sticker that some locations give out.