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Here's what the EXP expiration date means on your vaccine card

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 spoke to the following sources: Pfizer, the CDC, and Dr. Alex Greninger.

First up, Pfizer says the EXP or 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. In other words, from the time the vaccine is created and bottled up, the shot needs to go into an arm before that EXP date on the card. 

The CDC writes: "Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don't know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated." The CDC wouldn't expect you to get reinfected within three months of getting the vaccine, but beyond that, it's an educated guess.

"Immunity from the vaccine will probably last years, depending on what happens from this virus from a mutational standpoint," said Greninger.

So, the expiration date on your vaccination record card does not show how long you'll be protected. But we can verify immunity should last a few months, probably six months to a year. But hopefully, a few years.