A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Your COVID-19 vaccination records are now accessible electronically. Well, at least they might be. DC Health launched a new website that gives D.C. residents electronic access to their official COVID-19 vaccination records. But don’t think this means you should dispose of your vaccine card. In fact, it’s more important, so take a photo of it. Maybe put it in a plastic sleeve for safekeeping.   

Developed with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the website, myir.dc.gov, is intended to let residents see all their immunization records and other health information without having to contact their provider. Right now, DC Health is focused on ensuring that residents have their electronic COVID-19 vaccination records at their disposal. 

Residents can preview or print their records for free at any time. They just need to create an account to match their registration information with the local and national data hubs the website pulls from. Residents can also add dependents’ records to their own portal.  

Don’t see your records? 

You are not alone. Many on social media shared that they couldn’t preview their COVID-19 vaccination records when they went on the website to create an account. An internal poll of six City Paper staffers showed a split: Three of us could preview our records once we viewed them as a PDF, while the others were not immediately matched. 

What’s going on? 

According to DC Health’s Patrick Ashley, the website pulls from D.C.’s immunization registry, which every local vaccine provider is supposed to input data into. The website also pulls data from the CDC’s “Immunization Gateway,” a federal platform that allows state registries to share information with one another. (It’s unclear if every state is participating and providing information to the CDC.) If someone is not seeing their records then it could mean their information has not yet been fully transmitted into a registry yet; or information was not inputted correctly. The information you create an account with has to perfectly match the information you gave to a vaccine provider (and that they recorded).

What do you do? 

Don’t sweat it. “The vaccine cards are still one of the most important cards that individuals can have,” says Ashley. “This is just another tool.” But if you are looking to do something, there are a few ways to troubleshoot. On the bottom right hand corner of myir.dc.gov, Ashley says there is a chat function so you could get help from an administrator with matching your records. “Most times it’s instantaneous for individuals, but not always. Sometimes it takes a little bit more for them to help match up the data, so that we’re protecting individuals’ privacy,” says Ashley. You could also contact your vaccine provider to make sure they took down all your information correctly. 

Residents who got the shot through vaccinate.dc.gov shouldn’t have an advantage over those who got jabbed through a pharmacy or health center participating in a federal program. However, there is likely a delay for individuals who got vaccinated outside of the District. DC Health is dependent on the CDC for that information so Ashley could not offer a timeline for when residents should expect to see their records online.   

Is D.C. laying the groundwork for vaccine passports? 

Between the new website and mayoral order that gives businesses and other institutions permission to ask residents to see their vaccine card or other certification and even require vaccination for employment or entry, it’s not hard to imagine that the D.C. government is setting up a system where fully vaccinated people are given more allowances than those who aren’t. New York already has a system that leans on vaccine passports. Ashley contends that the new website has nothing to do with the mayoral order. The new website has been planned for several weeks. “We want individuals to have access to all the tools,” he says. 
It’s unclear if any local businesses or institutions other than universities will mandate that their workers and customers be vaccinated. So far, no one is ready to do that unless Mayor Bowser eases coronavirus restrictions.