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Is Your Adult Vaccination Record Up-To-Date?

Healthcare workers looking at patient recordsHaving an up-to-date vaccination record is important. This record tells you and your doctor if you're protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Use these tools to help you keep track of your immunizations.

An up-to-date vaccination record (also called an immunization record) is a history of all the vaccines you have ever received. This record lets you know if you have some immunity against serious diseases. An accurate record also saves you time and money by ensuring you don't get unneeded vaccines. It can be hard to track down a misplaced vaccination record. If your personal record is missing, you may need to recreate it by looking at your medical history.

Staying Up-To-Date on Vaccination is Important

Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. become sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. Many adults visit the hospital as a result, and some adults even die from these diseases. Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off over time. You may also be at risk for other diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.

Vaccines not only protect you, but reduce the chance you'll spread illness to other people, like children who are too young to get vaccinated or adults who have weakened immune systems.

	Graphic: Do you know which adult vaccines you need?

Take this short quiz to find out which vaccines you need and create a customized printout to take with you to your next medical appointment.

	Hands thumbing through folders in file cabinet

Vaccination records may be stored with other important documents.

Tools to Record Your Vaccinations  

Today we move, travel, and change healthcare professionals more than we did in the past. Finding old immunization information can be difficult and time-consuming. Keeping an updated immunization record in your home will save you time and hassle. You should store it in a safe place with other important documents.

Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or other vaccine provider for an immunization record form. Or you may download and use this form [412 KB]. Bring one of these forms with you to all your health visits. Ask your vaccine provider to sign and date the form for each vaccine you receive. This will help you make sure that the immunization information is current and correct. Your vaccine provider may also take part in an immunization registry. If so, ask your provider to document each of your vaccinations in the registry.

Where to Look for Vaccination Records

If you don't have a complete vaccination record, you can search for evidence of your vaccination history. Look in places where you might find other important documents. Here are some tips:

  • Ask parents or other caregivers if they have records of your childhood immunizations.
  • Look through baby books or other saved documents from your childhood.
  • Check with your high school or college health services for dates of any immunizations. Most schools only keep records for 1-2 years after students leave the system.
  • Check with previous employers (including the military) that may have required immunizations.
  • Check with your doctor or public health clinic. Many doctor's offices maintain vaccination records for a limited number of years.
  • Contact your state's health department. Some states have registries (Immunization Information Systems) that include adult vaccines.

Unfortunately, there is no national organization that maintains vaccination records. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have this information.

What To Do If You Can't Find Your Records

If you can't find your personal records or records from the doctor, you may need to get some of the vaccines again. While this is not ideal, it is safe to repeat vaccines. The doctor can also sometimes do blood tests to see if you are immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases.

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