Record cards may be used to track the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, CNN reported on Thursday, December 3. The cards will be part of the vaccination kits that have been prepared by the Department of Defense to help facilitate the distribution of the vaccine once it gets approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Last month, Gen. Gustave Perna — the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed — said the DoD has created 100 million such kits.
The cards will be simple, wallet-sized pieces of paper which will help recipients of the vaccine track the time and date of their dosages. The DoD released photos of the cards on Wednesday. As they stand now, the cards have spaces for the patient’s name, as well as which type of vaccine they took, including its lot number. There is also a place to write the date the dose was given and by whom. This will help medical professionals more easily determine where in the course of vaccination a patient is.
The vaccination cards are just one part of the effort to track the medicine’s distribution throughout the United States. According to Dr. Kelly Moore — the associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, which is an organization supporting frontline workers who are going to administer the vaccine — the cards are the “simplest” way to trace the immunization of the American people, as reported by CNN. However, it’s not the only way the Centers for Disease Control and the DoD are going to keep an eye on the vaccine’s distribution.
Additionally, clinics will report their vaccinations to their state immunization registries, per CNN. This should give medical facilities the ability to track which vaccine and what dose a patient is on, should that information need to be confirmed. Finally, it’s been reported that many vaccination establishments will ask recipients to voluntarily provide their cell phone number. Should the clinics have that information, the patients will receive text notifications to alert them about when and where their next dose will be scheduled.
Reportedly, each dose will also be reported to the Centers for Disease Control, although the CDC has not confirmed if they will be keeping a database of such information.
The decision to use vaccination cards comes as two corporations — Pfizer and Moderna — are awaiting emergency use authorization of their vaccines from the FDA. According to CNN, a panel is scheduled to discuss the authorization of the medicines on December 10 and 17. Should they be granted approval, experts at Operation Warp Speed say the companies can begin distributing as soon as December 15 and 22. However, supplies will initially be limited, and widespread distribution isn’t expected to be reached until February 2021.