Trans People Face New Paperwork Hurdle in COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

“I just love the idea of maybe even overhauling a medical records system, or even just intake forms for people,” they said. Although legal names are necessary for insurance purposes, as a doctor, Mahoney would not want to know the deadnames — the names used pre-transition — of any of their potential future patients. 

Mahoney is one of several trans and nonbinary people who told The 19th they feel like they are being put in stressful situations where they are required to out themselves, or use their deadname. Some also feel like they are being left out of data collection on COVID-19 vaccination entirely — that transgender people are an afterthought. 

In a population that already deals with costly documentation changes and insurance headaches for gender-affirming care, COVID–19 vaccination records and the varying pharmacy rules to get the shot present another potential paperwork hurdle. 

In April last year, CVS Health Corp. told Reuters that it would only require that patients disclose their gender to receive a COVID-19 shot, instead of sex assigned at birth. The company has since returned to requiring sex assigned at birth in its online vaccination intake form. A pop-up note on CVS’ website notes that the CDC requires CVS to collect sex assigned at birth for COVID-19 vaccines. 

“Our pharmacy team uses this to provide information about your medications and vaccines such as potential side effects that relate specifically to your sex assigned at birth,” CVS says on its site, after noting the CDC requirement. CVS did not respond to a request for comment.

The CDC uses sex assigned at birth, a required part of data collection for the COVID-19 vaccine, to monitor trends in disease and vaccination, as well as side effects, CDC spokesperson Jasmine Reed said. 

“We do not provide guidance for how providers should seek information about sex or gender for the COVID response,” she said in an emailed statement. People wishing to change their name on immunization records need to work with state, tribal, or local authorities, she said. The CDC did not clarify whether such immunization records include CDC vaccination record cards. 

Kellan Baker, executive director and chief learning officer of Whitman Walker, a D.C.-based health care provider focused on serving LGBTQ+ people, said that the CDC should issue guidance to pharmacies on how to collect data simultaneously for sex assigned at birth and gender identity. The agency should also acknowledge the problem arising for some trans and nonbinary people with vaccine record cards, he said, and publicly support accurate documentation. 


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