WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The CDC issued new guidelines Thursday that in many cases allow fully vaccinated people to toss away their masks for the first time in more than a year.
Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors in most settings.
However, masks should still be worn while traveling, including planes, trains, buses and transportation hubs like airports.
So, how do you prove that you are fully vaccinated?
Currently, the only way most people in the U.S. are able to prove they have been vaccinated is a card given to them when they receive their shot.
The card has the CDC logo and documents when you received your first and second doses, if applicable, along with where you received your shot.
What should I (and shouldn't) do with my vaccine card?
The CDC advises keeping your vaccination card in a safe place and consider taking a picture of it as a backup copy.
Earlier this year, some people were laminating their vaccination cards to protect them. However, now health experts say we may need a booster shot in the next year, so they are advising not to laminate your card.
Do not post your vaccination card on social media. The FBI announced in February that people should not post a photo of their CDC vaccination card on social media.
Vaccine cards can contain your name, date of birth, patient number and other personal information.
"Bad actors can use these images to steal your identity and commit fraud," the FBI said.
What if I lose my card?
Anyone who loses their card should call their vaccine provider or state immunization information service.
You can find state Immunization Information Systems information on the CDC website. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
Will there be some sort of digital vaccine passport?
The federal government doesn't appear that it will create a digital passport for Americans and will instead leave it up to the private sector.
"We do know that there is a segment of the population that is concerned that the government will play too heavy-handed of a role in monitoring their vaccinations and that mandates will be coming from the federal government," White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said in a March 29 news briefing.
Slavitt said a federal vaccine passport "would discourage people" from getting the vaccine.
The International Air Transport Association has developed an app that helps international travelers store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines.
Some countries including Israel and China have already begun issuing digital passports for travel.
So-called COVID-19 vaccine passports have become a contentious issue in many states including Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order in April to prohibit vaccine passports.
"It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society," DeSantis said at the time the order was issued.
This has created an issue involving the cruise industry, which is attempting to restart sailings this year about being shuttered for more than a year. Cruise lines have been told by the CDC that ships could start to sail from U.S. ports if 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
This has created questions about how ships will use Florida ports if vaccine passports are not put in place.