If you recently texted your mom asking what shots you got as a kid, well, you’re definitely not alone. We’ve all heard our share of vaccine news lately, the most recent being related to a case of polio in an unvaccinated person in Rockland County, New York. Coupled with the fact that we are still living through a pandemic and now in the midst of a monkeypox outbreak – you may reasonably feel like you need to make sure you’ve had all your necessary shots, just in case.
“Having an up-to-date vaccination record is very important,” Cory Fisher, DO, a family physician at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. « That should be an integral part of the discussion with any [primary care physician] what you see for the first time…. Not having this information can delay protection against infections circulating in our communities. A murky knowledge of your vaccination history also makes it difficult for your doctor to recommend routine shots for conditions such as tetanus, pneumonia and shingles, Dr. Fisher adds.
Unfortunately, finding your immunization record can be easier said than done, especially if you were adopted, didn’t have a good relationship with your parents, or moved to the United States at age adult, among many other circumstances. You do not know where to start ? The The CDC has compiled a list of tips to help you know which vaccines you have received and when, since the United States does not have a national vaccination registry.
How to find your vaccination card
Before you get started, it may be useful to see the CDC’s list of recommended vaccines by age; this will give you an idea of what your vaccination record should look like. Then you can start your search:
Contact your family if you can.
If that’s an option for you, check with your parents or other caregivers you had when you were young to see if they kept your records, the CDC recommends. If they don’t know where your documents are, spend an afternoon sorting through old boxes or storage cupboards that can keep related keepsakes safe, such as baby books or other saved documents from your childhood.
Contact your former schools, employers or doctors.
If talking with your parents or digging through your childhood home isn’t an option, your next best bet is to contact the schools you attended, including your college if you attended, to ask if they have health records that you have submitted. for them. Almost all schools require participants to receive certain vaccinations, and you may have provided proof of these vaccinations when you registered.
The same goes for former employers, according to the CDC: It’s worth reaching out to companies you’ve worked for in the past, as they may also have your vaccination record on file. If you are still having problems, you can also try contacting the hospital or clinic where your parents took you when you were a child or teenager. That said, it’s possible that one of these places disposed of your file after a number of years.
Loop through your state’s health department.
Still at an impasse? Ask your health care provider if your state keeps track of immunization records, Dr. Fisher recommends. « Most states have a central repository of vaccine information, and your doctor’s office should have access to that portal, » he says.