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Tips for Finding Old Immunization Records

(Adapted from IAC Express, the newsletter of the Immunization Action Coalition) www.immunize.org

How can I find old immunization records?
Many people lose track of their immunization records and want to replace this information in the fastest, least expensive way possible. Unfortunately, there is no national organization that maintains immunization information, so it can be a time consuming process. Here are some helpful tips on finding old immunization records.

Tips for tracking down your child's previous shots:

  1. Check with all your child's previous health care providers. Don't forget visits to your local public health department or neighborhood clinic.
  2. Look through your old papers--sometimes immunization records are tucked away in a baby book, or included on school or camp medical history forms.
  3. Check with any schools your child has attended to see if they have retained a record of immunizations required for school entrance. Adolescents might have received certain vaccines (such as hepatitis B vaccine) in school or that might have been required for college entrance or a job.
  4. Call (619) 692-5656 or email at: sdir@sdiz.org the San Diego Regional Immunization Registry (SDIR). If your child is under six years of age and received vaccines at a Public Health Center or community clinic in San Diego County, he or she is probably in the SDIR. The registry is now a life-span record and adding more health care providers and immunization records daily, so contact SDIR.
  5. If your child was vaccinated in another county in California, go to the California Statewide Immunization Information System (SIIS) website at http://www.ca-siis.org to look for a contact in that county or region. If your child lived in another state, go to the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/iis/contacts-state-iis.htm for a list of state contacts.
  6. Sometimes when physicians retire or a medical practice changes hands, old patient records are sent to a medical record storage company. It may be possible to obtain records directly from the company for a fee.

Tips for finding or reconstructing an adult's immunization history:

  1. If you are a young adult, call (619) 692-5656 or email at: sdir@sdiz.org the San Diego Regional Immunization Registry (SDIR). SDIR has been in operation since 1997 so your record may have been entered in this immunization information system.
  2. If you have traveled out of the United States, you may have gotten travel vaccines and have those vaccines and others documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination.
  3. Ask your parents or early child care provider if he/she has any record of your childhood immunizations.
  4. Look through any old papers saved from your childhood, such as a baby book.
  5. Ask your high school, post-secondary school, college health service, or previous employers (including the military) for dates of any immunizations, if applicable.
  6. Understand that it is often not possible to find childhood immunization records of an adult. When you can't document having received a required vaccine in the past, you may have to be re-vaccinated. Receiving extra doses of these vaccines will not harm you. For a few diseases and/or vaccines, you can have blood tests to see if you are immune.
  7. Document any information you discover in writing, including the vaccine name, date given, and provider or clinic name.

An Invitation to the Community:
Keep Your Immunization Records Online!