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Answering your questions about COVID-19 vaccination cards, vaccine side effects

2 On Your Side viewers have asked us about vaccine side effects and the vaccination cards.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As New York opens up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to everyone 16 and up on Tuesday, we want to answer some of the questions you've sent us about the vaccine and how the vaccination process works.

The first question isn't about the vaccine itself, but it's about the card you get after you get your first dose. Remember, you aren't supposed to take a selfie with your vaccination card because scammers are using the info to make fakes, but what about laminating them once you get both doses or your one and done dose of the J & J vaccine?

Some office supply stores are even offering to laminate your card for free.

Denise G. wrote, "Should the card get laminated? People are commenting that it should not because if there is a booster it will need to be recorded on your card. So, laminate or not?"

There have also been reports of cards getting smudged or damaged when they're laminated.

We asked the New York State Department of Health about this to see if it had any guidelines to pass along, and we did not hear back.

The card is issued by the CDC through your healthcare provider, but we did not find any information on the CDC's website about whether you should laminate your card. It does say to hang onto it and consider taking a picture of it to use as a backup copy incase you lose it, and it says to make sure you bring your vaccination card with you to your second shot appointment. 

So laminating is up to you, and at this point, we don't know if people will need to get boosters yet.

Another viewer wanted us to Verify something for her about the vaccine's side effects.

Karen M. sent this question in. She says, "Since having my COVID vaccine, I have been experiencing a sour acidic taste and smell, sewer-like smells. Nobody else can smell or taste what I do. I have been trying to research, but there's not a lot out there on this."

Searching online, we found information from an NBC News report from last week that talks about some people reporting a metallic taste after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, others after the Moderna vaccine. It went away after a few hours or a few days. A doctor interviewed for that story said sometimes people interpret the tastes as salty, bitter or rancid. So Karen is not alone. But, this is not a common side effect, and the CDC says if your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days, call your doctor. 

As more people are eligible to make vaccine appointments, some are making them at clinics that are far away then finding appointments closer to Western New York. Or they might get a call from a pharmacy where they're on a waiting list. So, can you make an appointment and cancel it if you find one that's more convenient?

For an answer, we went to the New York State Department of Health. A spokesperson did not get back to us.

But since appointments are hard to come by, you should cancel an appointment if you no longer need it so someone else can have it. If you made it with the state, call the state's vaccine hotline to cancel. That number is 1-833-697-4829. 

Our next question is about something that's written on the vaccination cards.

A viewer said, "I just received my second shot of the vaccine. I noticed on the vaccination card that there is an expiration date. Does that mean I no longer have protection from the virus as of that date?"

It doesn't have anything to do with how long the COVID-19 shot will protect you. GREENSBORO, N.C. - A viewer got a vaccination card that says his Pfizer shot has an expiration date (EXP) of 7/2021. He wondered if that's how long he's protected from coronavirus.

Our Verify team talked with Pfizer about this. Pfizer says the expiration date refers to how long doctors have to get the shot in your arm before it goes bad - not how long you are protected from coronavirus. It's a use-by date.  

If you have a question, feel free to contact us at (716) 849-2200.