August 20, 2022

How to Locate and Access Your Vaccination Records

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With recent cases of polio and measles occurring in adults making the news, many people are scrambling to make sure that they’re vaccinated against these diseases that were once menaces in our society.

But especially for older Americans, this can be a task that’s easier said than done. Before records were computerized like they are now, it makes it more difficult to know whether people were vaccinated against certain diseases and when those shots were administered.

Centers Health Care has a look at guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on tracking down vaccination records for you or a loved one.

  1. Check Personal Records

For polio, anyone who was a child starting in the 1950s or 60s is overwhelmingly likely to be vaccinated against polio. There is, however, no official national organization that keeps vaccination records. Because of that, experts recommend starting in your home.

If you are able to, ask your parents if they have records of your vaccinations from childhood, and many parents stored vaccine logs in with their child’s baby book or other saved documents.

Other places to check include a high school, college, or previous employers.

  1. Official Sources May Have Records

Your doctor or a public health clinic that administers shots may have records, but if this dates back to when records were kept by hand in folders, offices may no longer have those records—they’re only required to hold on to documents for a certain number of years.

Some state health departments, however, have registries that include when adult vaccines were administered, so this is a good avenue to explore.

  1. When in Doubt, Re-Vaccinate

Check with your doctor first if you’re unable to confirm if you’ve received a vaccine. Sometimes, a blood test will be able to confirm whether you have or not. Failing that, your doctor may want you to get re-vaccinated, which is considered safe.

Moving forward, you can keep a record yourself of your vaccines, and in the meantime, it’s suggested that you get vaccinated at the same location (pharmacy or doctor’s office), so you have accurate records all in one place.

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