Keeping Track of Children’s Immunization Records
When my children were born I received a special booklet from the Department of Health labeled “Lifetime Immunization Record” and I bring them along to every well visit for each of my five children. The booklet serves as a valuable record of all the immunizations they have received. There is a place to mark the specific vaccine, the date it was given, as well as the name of the doctor or local health department stamp. And I can’t tell you how helpful it has been.
I recall one instance where our family doctor had reviewed my daughter’s medical file and explained that she was behind on a particular immunization. Since I’ve always kept close track of immunizations I questioned the doctor. After showing them my records, they double checked their files and it became evident that the doctor’s office had previously administered the shot as I had thought. While I don’t believe an extra immunization would have done her any harm, my daughter was certainly relieved not to have to experience another shot in the arm that wasn’t really necessary.
As a military family that moves every few years, I realize how important it is for parents to keep accurate records of our children’s immunizations. Each time we move we have multiple schools to enroll in, different doctors to see and lots of instances where we are required to show documentation of immunizations. No doubt, my immunization booklets have come in handy for me, but I’ve often wondered what I would have to do if I lost them. How difficult would it be to gather up all the appropriate documentation from the various medical providers we have seen in different states over the course of the past 16 years since my oldest child was born?
That’s why I was excited to hear about a great new resource called MyVaxIndiana, that was recently introduced by the Indiana State Department of Health. Every time a parent logs into this new website with their personal identification number, the system provides information about the shots their child has had, as well as the shots that their child still lacks based on the current CDC immunization recommendations. Parents will even have the option to print their child’s immunization records to share with others. Not only will this system help avoid duplication immunizations, but it will help parents become partners with their doctor’s by seeing what immunizations their child may still need. This allows time for them to discuss upcoming immunizations with their doctor and ensure that all the recommended immunizations are received according to schedule.
A recent article in the Indianapolis Star explained that the site was created with federal stimulus money, at a cost of about $100,000 to $150,000. The article pointed out that “The system could have come in handy two years ago when new state laws regarding immunizations went into effect, catching hundreds of parents off-guard. More than 1,000 children missed school as their families struggled to get them missed shots — or find proof that they had already had them.”
While I don’t live in Indiana, I will certainly be passing this information on to those people I know who do. And it will be interesting to see if, and when, other states will follow their lead.
How do you keep track of your child’s immunization records? Feel free to share any suggestions you may have so that we can each benefit from one another’s experiences.