Have you ever heard of the saying that something's only as good as the work you put into it? This certainly is true with your vaccination record. This document holds all your important vaccination information in one place, from when you were a newborn until now. Keep reading to discover how important keeping an up-to-date record of your vaccines is for your general wellness and tips to get started.
Why this record is so critical
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine-preventable diseases occur every year that cause long-term illnesses, hospitalizations and even death. These diseases include pneumonia, influenza, hepatitis, human papillomavirus (the cancer-causing virus commonly known as HPV), tetanus, pertussis and shingles— just to name a few. And you should not err in thinking that vaccinations are only for kids; adult vaccination is equally important. There are some shots that require a booster shot in adulthood, and others that have simply become available since your original vaccination.
How to make a vaccination record
At this point in time, no single place stores all this information, so it's up to you to gather the necessary vaccination records. While actually locating your vaccination records may be a challenge, having a plan in place can help. Start with the most obvious route: check with your parents, guardians or other caregivers. Then try your healthcare provider to see if they may still have records. One idea is go back through your baby books or other scrapbooks from your youth to see if there is any helpful information. You may also want to contact the elementary or secondary schools, and/or college you attended. Sometimes former employers will be able to assist you. Another place to contact is the state health department's immunization records. All states have them but don't always cover all ages.
When you have gathered all the records possible, take them to your physician or another healthcare provider and ask if they will document the records on an official immunization record, and in applicable registries. Then you will need to store your supporting information in a safe place, like a lockbox. But, if you cannot get hold of some records, ask your physician what can be done. Sometimes blood tests can show if you've received certain vaccinations, and it's always safe to get vaccinations again if you're not sure.
Keep your vaccination record up to date
After you have all the hard work done, make sure you keep your vaccination record current by taking it to any new healthcare visits. It's also a pretty good idea to have a personal record of it in your wallet.
While finding, organizing and making your vaccination record may be time-consuming, it's the best way to promote your general wellness and guard against serious diseases in the future.