I received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The provider gave me a CDC vaccination card which lists my name, date of birth, vaccine name, lot number, and name of the provider. But they didn't fill out the date in the third column of the card.

Now I am planning to travel internationally and obviously I want to prove that I am fully vaccinated. Is it ok if I write in the date myself?

I'm worried that immigration officials will notice that the handwriting for the date differs from the handwriting on the rest of the card. If they are convinced that I have forged a vaccination record, I could face severe consequences. But some of my friends have told me that some providers expected the patient to fill in the date themselves since they were too busy to do it. If that's the case, then it seems like there's nothing inherently dishonest about also filling in the date on my own card.

  • 5
    For international travel, getting an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet it the better option anyway. Your doctor can fill out the needed entry and stamp it. Jul 13, 2021 at 3:31
  • 3
    FWIW, my vaccinator had me fill out most of the card myself. I think it was SOP. They formed a line and while you are waiting in line fill out this card. Also if you got two different shots (as you should) by two different vaccinators then the card will have two different handwritings even if the vaccinators did it.
    – emory
    Jul 13, 2021 at 11:35
  • 1
    This happened to my wife, she got pfizer at a local krogers. All she did was go back and the lady wrote in the date lol very sloppy this whole covid stuff.
    – JonH
    Jul 13, 2021 at 14:43
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    Hand filled vaccination cards? That is so unprofessional. Will other countries take them seriously? Jul 13, 2021 at 16:57
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    From what I can gather the entire USA vaccination system is "unprofessional" in comparison with other countries. For example in the UK there are no vaccinations without appointments, and the appointment system is national not local (unsurprising, since the UK has a natiional health service) However the individual's vaccination record cards are still completed by hand - though if you want an official vaccination passport you apply to the system which has a national database of all vaccinations given, and the hand-completed card is irrelevant.
    – alephzero
    Jul 13, 2021 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


It seems unlikely to me that immigration officials will care about the handwriting on the card, given the general level of sloppiness that I have seen on photos of those cards online. But I can't say for sure how any immigration official will react and I doubt anyone else here can either. To be absolutely on the safe side, from what I have heard pretty much any provider in the US has a procedure for replacing lost or damaged vaccine records: they can look you up in their system, verify that they gave you a vaccine, and give you a new card, which you could then make sure they write the date on correctly.

If you live in a state like New York that issues electronic vaccine passports, that may be another option.


Did you sign up through VAMS (CDC)? If so, you can print out a certificate from there. Is it secure? Not really, but then anybody can print out their own card from PDFs online. It's probably worthwhile having multiple documents as backups.

By the way, I'm looking at my card, and I just noticed that the provider messed up the date of the second shot, so she crossed it out and wrote the correct date. I suspect there's a wide variety in what they see on these cards.


This is a Medical Certificate and therefore should only be filled out by authorised persons.

Therefore, in theory, any unauthorized changes could invalidate it.

A possible solution would be to write (preferably with pencil) the missing date as: [date], impling that something that should have been there in the first place, has been added for clarity and is not an alteration of the original.

Inserting or Altering Words in a Direct Quotation - Writing Commons
When writers insert or alter words in a direct quotation, square brackets—[ ]—are placed around the change. The brackets, always used in pairs, enclose words intended to clarify meaning, provide a brief explanation, or to help integrate the quote into the writer’s sentence.

For the International Certificate of Vaccination:

The form must be fully completed in English or French by a medical practitioner or authorized health worker and must include the official stamp of the administering centre.

  • 35
    Practically speaking, even though <sup>[date]</sup> is more correct, it is also more likely to cause trouble. Immigration officials are not scientists. They are trained to look for stuff that looks unusual and bother people whose stuff looks unusual.
    – Heinzi
    Jul 13, 2021 at 8:13
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    @Heinzi Thus the statement that it could invalidate the certificate. But this is not an official travel document, where changes in official entries are not permitted. The International Certificate of Vaccination was not designed as a secure document. Care should be taken to insure that these, easily counterfeitable certificates, should be correctly filled out to avoid any problems. Jul 13, 2021 at 8:59
  • 7
    Don't do this OP
    – eps
    Jul 13, 2021 at 13:55
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    @Michal technically if they were told to fill them out, then they are authorized.
    – Kat
    Jul 13, 2021 at 15:38
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    @Kat Technically speaking then, it is the not a WHO compliant document and should not be used in international travel. International Certificate of Vaccination: The form must be fully completed in English or French by a medical practitioner or authorized health worker and must include the official stamp of the administering centre. Jul 13, 2021 at 19:46

Fill it out

First, take a picture of it without the date, fill it out then take another picture of it with a date. This is for your own security.

If they questioned you about it, tell the truth. Those guys will probably double-check it to the vaccination site or the doctor.

They might argue with you and they don't want to verify it. This will unlikely going to happen, but just in case, use audio recorded before you go there (again, for your security).

If the immigration officials talk to them, the provider of the vaccination card might also argue with you for filling it out without their permission. In my estimation, this has around 98% probability will not gonna happen since they will probably just verify the date of vaccination and not the handwriting. If they did, you can just argue back to them for not doing their job properly, they are responsible for this anyway and you will probably win this argument.

I said all of this though, in the end, they will not notice it. The more volume of people who fall in line, the lesser chances they'll notice it. Being in the first in line or in the middle is the lowest probability rate of them noticing it.

Be positive about this, you're not at fault in the first place.

  • "use audio recorded before you go there" -- can you clarify what this means? Audio of whose words, recorded by whom, played back to whom, for what purpose?
    – nanoman
    Jul 15, 2021 at 9:19
  • @nanoman recording their conversation (OP & Immigration officials), incase they refuse to verify the date of vaccination due to (or maybe) silly reasons. OP can report them with the help of recorded conversation as evidence. Although there's a slim chance of happening, I just wanted OP to be prepared.
    – Shiz
    Jul 15, 2021 at 9:27
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    "you can just argue back to them for not doing their job properly" - It seems like poor advice to be antagonistic towards a person that decides whether you will actually gain entry, or how long that will take. Jul 15, 2021 at 14:16
  • @AmiralPatate every detail is vital especially in this case, card givers are thoroughly trained to do so, every mistake is a mistake, that mistake leads to OP's doubt to his very important travel plan. If you read again my answer, those statement will never be used in the first place IF the card givers didn't complain and throwing reasons on their own mistake. Your comment is antagonistic, OP might change his mind to travel.
    – Shiz
    Jul 15, 2021 at 15:36

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