Getting vaccinated is a momentous occasion to share with the world — here's how to do so safely
As Covid-19 vaccine distribution rollout ramps up in certain parts of the world, an increasing number of people are posting images of their vaccination cards online. It’s a way to celebrate; to say, “Hey! I got this and you should too!”. But unfortunately, it’s also opening you up to identity theft and fraud.
“Publishing pictures of your vaccination certificate can seem like a way to celebrate a major milestone in getting closer to the end of the difficult experiences of the past year in the pandemic,” Avast Senior Global Threat Communications Manager Christopher Budd says. “It can also seem like a good way to encourage others who might be ‘vaccine negative’ or undecided. But taking a picture of your actual card and posting it isn't the best way to accomplish these things and can increase your risks around identity theft.”
Budd points out that in the United States, the CDC Covid-19 vaccination card has your full name, date of birth, Covid-19 vaccine maker and lot number, date of vaccination, and the healthcare professional or clinic site that administered it.
“The full name and birthday are potentially enough for someone to try and initiate identity theft against you, especially if they can combine it with other personal information that may be publicly available through public records and/or social media,” he says. “Additionally, the specific information about the vaccine, vaccination date, and who administered it could enable someone to try and gain access to personal health information by posing as you can calling ‘to check’ on something.”
Even if all of the information on the card is information that criminals could potentially get elsewhere, there’s no need to serve it up to them and make their job easier. Because here’s the thing about scammers: They’re always looking for the next way in. That’s why the online security world is a game of cat and mouse, with companies like Avast in a constant race to get ahead of the criminals.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t want you to publicly celebrate getting your vaccine! If getting vaccinated feels like a momentous occasion to you and you want to share it with the world, you absolutely should. Here are seven ways to do it safely.
Get a photo in while the healthcare professional is jabbing you — with their permission, of course. Post it on Facebook; share it in your Stories; tweet it; get it on the grid.
Wait until you get home, put on something cute, fix your makeup (if that’s your thing) and take a selfie with your Band-Aid and a little caption. Who doesn’t like a cute, no-mask selfie in celebration?
Some vaccination sites are giving out stickers, similar to the ones you get when you vote in person. Take a photo
If you’re getting vaccinated at a clinic, have someone take your photo just outside. Then you’re doing the double duty of publicizing the places in your area that are doing this important work and celebrating your vaccination.
Or cheers-ing to the camera. Or licking your partner’s face. We’re not judging how you celebrate! We’ve all been inside for over a year now and it’s time to get that energy out.
If you really really want to share your vaccination card and just think there’s no other way you can truly express your joy online, put a finger over all of the pertinent information. Don’t just scribble it out, because that can be removed with a little bit of image know-how. (Better to not post it at all.)
For those of you feeling especially emo, nothing says “feelings” like white text on a black background. Spill your feelings, friend! It’s a pandemic.
Try searching your name and address in your favorite search engine. You’ll see pretty quickly just how much information is out there that you never consented to making public.
Here's how you can manage the information and data you’ve shared on devices and online.