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Tommy Tran draws a dose of serum as pharmacists from Albertson's dispense the inoculations during the Council on Aging Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at The Lotus Center located at 1701 Main Street Tuesday, January 12, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La.

Receiving the coronavirus vaccine can be a life-altering moment, and even a reason to celebrate, but sharing too much information about shots online could cause problems keeping key information private.

Health officials distribute cards to vaccine recipients as a reminder of which manufacturer made their dose and when they'll be ready for a second shot, if appropriate.

Already, many people have shared photos of their vaccine cards online. As the number of people vaccinated grows, the number of people likely to share the news through the social media feeds grows too. 

"Most of our patients have been of the age where that's not something they're interested in doing," said Jeanne Bertrand, who with her pharmacist husband, Andrew Bertrand, owns Bertrand's Pharmacy in Gonzales. Many of the pharmacy's shot recipients are elderly.

The Better Business Bureau on Monday warned that sharing photographs of the cards online could benefit scammers interested in identity theft.

Carmen Million, president of the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana based in Baton Rouge, said, "The concern is that people will want to show everybody they got the vaccine" with a picture. "Be your first line of defense against scammers."

The cards, distributed initially by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have a patient's full name and birthday on it, along with information about the pharmacy or other location where shots were distributed.

"If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use," the BBB said.

The cards are important, said Jarred Binney, pharmacy manager for the Bocage Pharmacy Centre in Baton Rouge. "You cannot change the type of vaccine you get for the second shot," he said. 

If the original type of vaccine happens to not be available at the place where a person got their first shot, they'll need to find a place that has the appropriate type for their second dose, Binney said. 

Bertrand said there is a reason for people to be excited about the vaccine.

"It means they're on their way to being able to do things again," she said.


Email Ellyn Couvillion at ecouvillion@theadvocate.com.