As the world waits impatiently for a COVID-19 vaccine, you may be wondering about the other immunizations you've received in the past. If your parents never gave you a record of your vaccinations or you can't remember the last time you received a booster shot, it's time to find out how protected you are.
Your vaccination records shouldn't be taken lightly. Schools, employers, and other countries may ask to see these documents. If you can't provide them, you could be denied on the spot.
These days, you likely can find your records via email or a unique website owned by your healthcare provider. If you lose access to these online records or misplaced an old paper document, you can always keep a backup. A spreadsheet or a list will do, and this document should contain the following information:
- Dates of all your vaccinations
- The type of vaccination (original or booster)
- The disease associated with each vaccination
- The location of the vaccination
Sometimes things get misplaced. Moving, reorganizing, or simply thinking you won't need a bunch of old papers in your office could cause you to lose your vaccination records. Don't lose hope. A little sleuthing and a few phone calls could uncover those missing records.
- Look in your filing cabinet. You may have old documents that you forgot you kept.
- Ask your doctors. Unfortunately, vaccine records may not be available if you don't inquire within a few years of the last vaccination.
- Dig into your past. Schools and employers often require vaccination records before admission or hiring. Some of the prior stops in your life could give you some insight when you received your previous vaccinations.
- Ask the local immunization registry. Each state has one, and you can find their contact information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
If you can't find any of your old records, the worst-case scenario is that you or your child will need to repeat some vaccines. Getting another dose will cost money, but it won't harm your health. Sometimes a blood test will reveal immunity to certain diseases, which would preclude you from revaccination.
Vaccination records should be treated like financial records. Keep your most recent updates in a safe place where you can easily consult them if necessary. Ask your doctor for digital copies of your vaccination records, so you don't have to worry about losing paperwork. Taking the time to maintain the records now will save you the headache of searching later.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we'll bring you information about the "Cause of the Month," including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. August is National Immunization Awareness Month.