Keeping Track of Records

It’s important for you to keep track of your child’s vaccination records. CDC does not keep vaccination records. The following resources can help you find and update your vaccine records.

Why you need your child’s vaccine records

It is important to keep your child’s vaccination records (the history of which vaccines they received) up to date and in a safe place. Without documentation, your child might not be allowed to attend school, play sports, or travel abroad. Your child may need their vaccination records later as adults for certain occupations.

A group of young children walking into school
School and childcare

Vaccine requirements for schools or childcare facilities are different in each state. Talk to your school system or childcare facility to learn about the requirements where you live.

teenaged boys playing soccer
Extracurricular activities and teams

Some athletic programs, sports teams, summer camps or other activities require physical examinations and vaccinations. Talk to your child’s athletic department or program to learn the requirements.

Mother holding adopted son
Adoption and fostering

When adopting or fostering a child, it is important to know their vaccination history. You or your children might need additional shots.

Learn About Vaccines and Adoption

Keeping track of records

Keep your child’s vaccination records in a safe place beginning with their first vaccine. Your child’s doctor will keep a record of vaccines given in their clinic. Ask your child’s doctor or nurse how they keep vaccination records and how you can get an official copy. You can also ask your child’s doctor to enter vaccination information in your state’s immunization information system (IIS), a statewide registry for records.

Finding official vaccination records

If you can’t find a copy or do not have your child’s vaccination records, you can try to get an official copy from a few different places.

Your child’s doctor or clinic

Doctors and health clinics keep records of the vaccines they give to your child. Keep in mind that they may save records for only a few years. If your child has gotten vaccines at different locations, you may have to contact each of them to get your child’s records.

Your state’s immunization registry

States and some large cities have secure immunization information systems (IIS) that keep vaccination records for the people in the state or city. However, some people’s records may not be complete. Contact the IIS in your state or the state where your child received their last vaccine to see if they have your child’s records and learn how to request an official copy. Your doctor may also be able to help you get vaccination records from your state’s IIS for vaccines that were given at other locations by other providers.

Find Your State’s IIS

Your child’s school

Most schools keep vaccination records on file. Schools may keep records for a year or two after a student leaves or graduates. Contact your child’s school for more information.

African American doctor talking to white family with a young son and infant.

If you can’t find your child’s vaccine records

If you can’t find the vaccination records, it’s important to stay on the safe side and vaccinate (or revaccinate) your child. It is safe for your child to repeat a vaccine that they received earlier. Sometimes repeat vaccinations may be required for proof of immunizations. Talk to your child’s doctor about how to protect your child.

Alternatively, you can also have your child’s blood tested for antibodies to check immunity for some vaccine preventable diseases. However, these tests aren’t always completely accurate.

Understand your child’s vaccination records

It can be hard to understand the many acronyms and abbreviations in vaccination records. Check out this list to understand the terms.

Vaccination Glossary
An Asian American female doctor and a young African American boy patient

Saving your child’s vaccination records

It’s important to keep your child’s vaccination records safe and updated. Schools, summer camps, athletic teams, college, international travel, and more may require vaccination records.

Storing your child’s records

Keep your child’s vaccination records in a safe place where you can easily find them. Some people keep their child’s records with other important documents, such as birth certificates and passports.

Updating your child’s records

Bring your child’s vaccine record to each doctor visit and ask the doctor or nurse to write down the vaccine, date, and dosage. It’s also helpful to write down the name of the doctor’s office or clinic where your child got the shot, so you know where to get the official records from if you misplace the record.

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