Immunization and vaccination is a hot-button topic these days, especially in the context of some groups that debate the value of vaccinations. Part of what makes immunization effective is the consistency and regularity of vaccinations and immunizations taken by the different members of the community to keep these illnesses at bay.
To maintain herd immunity and ensure inoculation against several deadly illnesses, a carefully monitored number of vaccinations are necessary. Therefore, it’s even more important that we, as patients, have and keep track of immunization records to verify whether we are protected against the diseases. This ranges from traditional childhood vaccinations against chicken pox, hepatitis, and measles to annual flu shots.
Children and Immunization Records
Immunization is most important among children, whose immune systems need the boost to fight off deadly infections. More than anyone else, infants and children rely heavily on herd immunity, so they don’t contract many lethal yet preventable diseases.
Most schools now require children and their parents to prepare and present medical records that prove that they have been inoculated and up-to-date on vaccines. This isn’t just to ensure the safety of the child, but also that of others.
The CDC recommends maintaining a strict immunization schedule for children and adolescents. Upon doing so, you start generating your immunization records, which are created whenever you see a healthcare professional. This is where the process begins, as good record-keeping starts with good record-taking.
Generating Immunization Records
When a child is vaccinated, they generate a record in the form of a tracking card. You can get this card from the doctor that performed the vaccination, or you can look it up in the state health department. Keeping records for children also can be found in the form of a CDC birth to 6-years-old well-visit immunization tracker. Parents can also make sure that the records are created and maintained by asking a doctor to enter that health information to the state’s immunization information system.
Locating Vaccination Records
Many people find they need their vaccination records many years after receiving the vaccination, such as when enrolling in college or graduate school. Fast forward years from childhood to adulthood, and it may be difficult to find your immunization records. Your parents might have lost the initial tracking card, or you’ve moved around and lost contact with the healthcare provider that had given you the immunization in the first place. There are several ways to track down your or your child’s immunization records, especially in the digital era, where electronic medical records (EMR) are more accessible than before:
- You can contact previous daycare centers and schools that your child has attended, particularly if the school requires a shot record.
- If you’ve changed healthcare providers, you may want to check with the previous one to see if they have kept a record of it.
- Make sure you thoroughly check everywhere around your home for the vital paperwork. You might have physical copies of the shot record lumped in along with the rest of the medical paperwork.
- Previous employers, including the military, who require an immunization record, may also still have this copy.
- Visit or contact your state’s immunization registry. They often keep thorough records of inoculations performed throughout the state, and you can contact the registry for an official copy. Be reminded that the process may vary greatly across different states and may be time-consuming.
- You can sign up for a personal health record service like PicnicHealth, and we’ll do the heavy lifting of tracking down your old doctors, requesting records, and putting them into an easily accessible digital file.
When You Don’t Find Your Records
Both adults and children typically need to repeat some inoculations. If you don’t know what you have gotten vaccinated for, it’s generally not harmful to receive additional vaccine doses. The process may be time-consuming, but it’s well worth it for your peace of mind against some highly preventable but deadly diseases.
Need to learn more about your medical records and how to protect them? Visit PicnicHealth.com and learn about your options.