Keeping Your Vaccine Records Up to Date
Your vaccination record (sometimes called your immunization record) provides a history of all the vaccines you received as a child and adult. This record may be required for certain jobs, travel abroad, or school registration.
Unfortunately, there is no national organization that maintains vaccination records. The CDC does not have this information. The records that exist are the ones you or your parents were given when the vaccines were administered and the ones in the medical record of the doctor or clinic where the vaccines were given.
Talk with your doctor about the best options to make sure you are up-to-date on vaccines.
If you need official copies of vaccination records, or if you need to update your personal records, there are several places you can look:
- Ask parents or other caregivers if they have records of your childhood immunizations.
- Try looking through baby books or other saved documents from your childhood.
- Check with your high school and/or college health services for dates of any immunizations. Keep in mind that generally records are kept only 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. Keep in mind that vaccination records are maintained at doctor’s office for a limited number of years.
- Contact your state’s health department. Some states have registries (Immunization Information Systems) that include adult vaccines.
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.
Today we move, travel, and change health care providers more than we did in previous generations. Finding old immunization information can be difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, it is critical that you keep an accurate and up-to-date record of the vaccinations you have received. Keeping an immunization record and storing it with other important documents (or in a safe place) will save you time and unnecessary hassle.
Ask your doctor, pharmacist or other vaccine provider for an immunization record form or download and use this form pdf icon[4 pages]external icon. Bring this record with you to health visits, and ask your vaccine provider to sign and date the form for each vaccine you receive. That way, you can be sure that the immunization information is current and correct.
If your vaccine provider participates in an immunization registry, ask that your vaccines be documented there as well.