The CDC COVID-19 record card you get with your vaccine is too large to fit in your wallet, yet small enough to be easily misplaced.

But the little cardboard cards are becoming increasingly important if you want to get out of the house, as venues in the Twin Cities and elsewhere require that they be shown if you want to see a show or dine out.

As of Jan. 19, Minneapolis and St. Paul started requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to dine in bars, restaurants and other places where food and drinks are served.

There are several ways to keep your vaccine card safe, protected, handy. Some are even quite fashionable.

Classy card holders

Blinged-up vaccine card holders allow you to express your personal style, fashion sense and fandom interests. The card holders are like fancy little wallets with a display window suitable for wearing on a lanyard around your neck or clipped to your belt, ready to flash to gain admittance to your local bar, restaurant or concert venue.

Among the scores of options on Etsy for "Fauci Ouchie Pouchies" or "plague passport" are leather or plastic card holders that glow in the dark, that have comic book, movie or television themes, that are embossed or embroidered with your name or messages supporting science, urging hand washing and advocating mask wearing.

One style of vaccine card holder looks like a high-tech prop from the sci-fi movie "The Fifth Element." Another is an homage to the "Hamilton" musical ("I'm not throwin' away my shot."). Or maybe you'd like to store your vaccine card in what looks like the acceptance letter to Hogwarts School.

Available apps

If you're worried about losing your card, you could go digital.

Most venues accept a photograph of your vaccine card that you can keep on your phone as proof. There also are a number of digital wallet options and apps springing up to help keep track of and display your immunization status.

The Minnesota Department of Health is promoting a smartphone app called Docket that can be used to access, view and share immunization records recorded in the state's immunization information system.

The Minnesota Orchestra and the Guthrie Theater have partnered with the Bindle app, on which patrons can display a digital entry pass showing that they've met the vaccine or testing requirements set by the venue.

According to Bindle, when you use that app, access to your actual health records is controlled on your phone so the venues or other third parties can't get to it.

An app called Clear also offers users the ability to create what it calls a "secure digital vaccine card."

Phone it in

You can always keep a photo of your card on your phone. But your virtual vaccine card can easily get lost among the hundreds of photos on your device.

One suggestion for keeping your vaccine card photo secure is to put it in a "hidden" album on your smartphone. Works great until you forget the steps you need to take to unhide it.

Also, not everyone has a smartphone and lots of people aren't that comfortable with keeping important documents there.

After all, there's a certain demographic who carry printouts of hotel reservation confirmation e-mails and prefer paper boarding documents when they fly.

(You might be rolling your eyes and saying "OK, boomer" right now, but what happens when your phone battery dies, smart guy?)

Whatever it takes

Officials at the Minnesota Orchestra and the Ordway Center in St. Paul said since they started checking for vaccine status among audience members last fall, most people have flashed the actual card at the door.

Audience members apparently have adjusted to the new requirements, making sure they have both their tickets and their vaccine proof when they arrive at a show.

David Sailer-Haugland, Minnesota Orchestra vice president of marketing and guest relations, said only one or two people per concert forget their card. He said the orchestra often is able to get them in by looking up records that they attended a previous concert and had their vaccination record confirmed then.

In one case, the audience member was able to get someone to find their card at home and text or e-mail a photo of it to the concert hall.

"We rarely have to turn people way," Sailer-Haugland said.