Home > Expert Insights, Parent Perspective, Preventable Diseases > Keeping Track of Your Child’s Immunizations

Keeping Track of Your Child’s Immunizations

DrZibnersToday Dr. Lara Zibners addresses an inquiry from our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page that pertains to immunization records.  If you have a vaccine related question that you would like us to address, please email shotofprevention@gmail.com or send us a message on our Facebook page.

I have a question…I thought my daughter (5) was all caught up on her shots last year when she went to preschool.  Now at her physical they say she is behind on four vaccines!!! I KNOW we got them updated last year, and the doctor’s office dropped the ball and failed to chart it…so now, if she has to have those 4 repeated, will it hurt her in any way?

Oh that’s a bummer! I can imagine how frustrating this for you—not to mention your daughter!  As parents, we trust our children’s doctors to keep accurate records of both healthy and sick visits. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent’s recollection of events doesn’t match up to what’s written in the chart. Sometimes the misstep is on the part of the doctor or office staff, and sometimes on the part of the parent. This time it sounds like you very well may be right. And it reminds me of when I took my daughters to the pediatrician for their immunizations.

My kids are 3 months apart in age. (I know, I know, the math doesn’t add up. We can get into it later but trust me here.) This meant we were always one set of shots apart for the first year and a half. Like a brave Mommy, I held one of the girls in my lap while our pediatrician delivered the goods. After I was done consoling her, I set her down and picked up the other one. The doctor looked at me in surprise and said, “What are you doing? She doesn’t get shots this visit.” I just stared at him and said, “Um, yes, yes, she does. This one is Zoe.”

In this instance, it was half my fault, half his. The immunization schedule in the UK (where we live) is different than the one I delivered while training as a pediatrician in the United States.  The girls had both started their vaccine schedules in the U.S. (where they were born) and then continued them on the other side of the pond. Which pretty much completely confused their English pediatrician doctor and their American pediatrician mother. Some of the shots we had to repeat because of the differing intervals, while some were present on the UK schedule and not the US one and vice versa. And then, in poor Eva’s case, one of my kids got an entire set of shots three months after she’s already had them. Poor bunny. She wasn’t remotely amused. Not even when I gave her chocolate as a peace offering.

But that is the end of the bad part of my story (and yours). The good news is that repeated immunizations are not dangerous. In fact, in some instances, we actually recommend them. For example, a child who is adopted from another country with uncertain medical resources, or whose early medical care was haphazard, should get all their shots repeated on an accelerated schedule. The same is true if the interval between doses is shorter than recommended or the child is younger than the advised age. This is simply to ensure that each child is adequately immunized. As for negative consequences, there isn’t any evidence that they exist.

In your daughter’s case, the shots she needs to repeat are the IPV (polio), MMR, Varicella, and DTaP vaccines. The American Academy of Pediatrics firmly states that there is no evidence that giving any of the first three to a person who is already immune to these illnesses causes any harm. As for the DTaP shot, that’s one that she’ll be repeating at regular intervals throughout her lifetime because the immunity wears off. Another dose before the next is due isn’t a problem.

I sincerely hope that this has alleviated some of your concerns and helped to reassure you that even the most conscientious doctors can sometimes get confused. By all means, though, this time, ask for a copy of her immunization records to keep at home. It’s a good idea for all of us, actually. Most definitely for me. Can you imagine what will happen when we move back to the States?!

For a complete overview of the general immunization recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP),  refer to the following document:  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6002.pdf

vaxtextFor more information on vaccine schedules, check the references below: 

Easy to read vaccination schedules for infants through adults, are available on the CDC website.

Parents and caregivers can keep track of immunizations by using the following CDC form: Immunizations and Developmental Milestones For Your Child from Birth through 6 Years Old.

For children 7 through 18 years of age, parents can download the Adolescent Immunization Scheduler directly from the CDC.

Parents may also want to consider VaxtextSM  , a mobile text program that helps keep kids 0-24 months of age on track with the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule.

  1. Robert
    July 6, 2013 at 4:22 am

    This is a really rich guest entry!! So why don’t we just do like pets, and have everyone get every vaccine every year. In fact, why not make sure that all of these shots are given in fingers, toes, lower legs or arms to facilitate amputation like the AVA recommend for pet vaccinations? It would be far better to actually conduct blood tests to see what antibodies are already present than just push this “one size fits all” mentality even further.

    “Adverse Vaccine Reactions

    From rashes and behavioral issues, to seizures and even vaccine injection site tumors, the list of adverse vaccine related health complications is long and varied. However, because many people don’t make the connection between the administration of a shot and subsequent symptoms, and because the veterinary industry at large often does not acknowledge such a connection, adverse vaccine reactions often go unreported.

    For these reasons and because many people have been erroneously conditioned to believe that vaccines are completely safe and effective, there’s a serious lack of understanding about the issue of vaccine damage among the general population.”

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-truth-about-pet-vaccines-you-wont-hear-from-your-vet/

    This is about pets, but we are all mammals and genetically very similar. If these things are harming our pets, there is no reason to believe that they are “safe and effective”, especially when vaccines are by statute, and confirmed by Supreme Court ruling, to be “unavoidable unsafe”.

    “It granted Wyeth summary judgment, holding that the relevant Pennsylvania law was preempted by 42 U. S. C. §300aa–22(b)(1), which provides that “[n]o vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if
    the injury or death resulted from side-effects that were unavoidable
    even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied
    by proper directions and warnings.”

    Citation to above in comment below.

    Like

  2. Robert
  3. Chris
    July 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Robert, do you have any other point than you don’t understand legal rulings have nothing to do with the scientific issues in regards to vaccines?

    Like

  4. Robert
    July 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I see that you fail to even acknowledge the fact that veterinarians are waking up as quickly as doctors to the fact that the “vaccines are safe and effective” slogan has no real backing in science or truth. It is quite ironic that the legal ruling that vaccines are unavoidably dangerous was made to protect the vaccine industry. Ever wonder why so many health professionals are pushing back against mandatory vaccination? It’s not a mystery, except to the obtuse or the integrity challenged.

    Like

  5. dingo199
    July 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Breathing, eating and driving to the movies is unavoidably unsafe.
    Everything in life is unavoidably dangerous.
    What is your point?

    Like

  6. Chris
    July 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Robert, we have always acknowledged that there is a risk in getting a vaccine, just like there is a risk for any medical procedure or even in getting up in the morning can be dangerous (you may trip on the bed clothes and do a header into a wall).

    The real issue is relative risk. If you have any PubMed indexed study from a qualified reputable researcher that shows any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the disease, then please present that. Until then, the body of evidence shows that the vaccines are much safer than getting the diseases. In other words, it is much safer to get the MMR vaccine than to get measles, plus safer to get the DTaP than to get pertussis, etc.

    And, still, legal decisions have no bearing on the scientific data.

    Like

  7. Robert
    July 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    dingo199 :
    Breathing, eating and driving to the movies is unavoidably unsafe.
    Everything in life is unavoidably dangerous.
    What is your point?

    The point is that there are no pieces of legislation or desires for legislation that REQUIRE you to eat or drive or anything else. These are all things that we do based on a voluntary partaking of the act. Vaccines are not mandatory, but we are led to believe that they are and there are specific attempts at punitive actions against those who choose not to partake.

    Like

  8. Robert
    July 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Chris :
    Robert, we have always acknowledged that there is a risk in getting a vaccine, just like there is a risk for any medical procedure or even in getting up in the morning can be dangerous (you may trip on the bed clothes and do a header into a wall).
    The real issue is relative risk. If you have any PubMed indexed study from a qualified reputable researcher that shows any vaccine on the American pediatric schedule is more dangerous than the disease, then please present that. Until then, the body of evidence shows that the vaccines are much safer than getting the diseases. In other words, it is much safer to get the MMR vaccine than to get measles, plus safer to get the DTaP than to get pertussis, etc.
    And, still, legal decisions have no bearing on the scientific data.

    The problem I have is that the “science” you claim to back up your position is decidedly and demonstrably rigged to promote the product. It is impossible to provide evidence that is not reported from a system rigged to suppress “bad press”. Case in point:

    “For example, one independent study looked at all drug trials submitted to the FDA for twelve antidepressants. Thirty-eight of the trials showed positive results, while thirty-six showed negative results. Yet thirty-seven of the positive results were published in peer-reviewed journals, while only three of the negative studies were! Any doctor looking at the published studies would be led to believe that antidepressants were overwhelmingly effective. This is especially troubling considering the many negative effects of antidepressants—including suicidal behavior, and evidence of violent behavior against others.”

    http://www.omsj.org/blogs/danger-cherry-picked-drug-studies

    In a system with undue influence by the manufacturers as to the information that is released to the public (and the professionals expected to make sound recommendations), negative information is suppressed. As the Cochrane Library review stated about all published flu studies examined, positive results were more likely than negative results to be published and the positive results showed endemic manipulation of results to make the vaccine appear more efficacious.

    My point is not really to argue with you, because you are obviously fixated, for what ever motivational reason, to support all positive reports on vaccines and discredit and/or ignore all negative results. Rather, I would like to make known to other readers that there is more to this issue than “your” side.

    Like

  9. July 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    @Robert – yet there are laws requiring people to wear seatbelts, which can cause significant injuries in an accident (of course, it is still better than getting ejected from a vehicle and dying).

    Vaccines aren’t mandatory, but as a matter of public health, it behooves public educational institutions to require them to prevent outbreaks among their students and staff.

    Like

  10. July 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Clark Baker? Surely you are joking, Robert. Plus that article had no references to vaccine studies. Also, hello Steve Michaels. I see you have created yet another sock puppet.

    Do tell how an ex-police officer is a “qualified reputable” medical researcher. Do give us his full credentials, like where he graduated from a program that actually has a biology and statistics in its credentials.

    Like

  11. Chris
    July 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    For lurkers, this is Steve Michaels. Note that he says:

    I have been removed and banned from this site so many times, I can’t count. I just know how to come back. It is not because this site entertains myriad opinions. It is because I am persistent.

    He likes to derail discussions, and refuses to provide real scientific evidence for his claims. IIt is not that he is persistent, he actually has a classically closed mind and refuses to learn. Like his input to this blog was deemed destructive, and repetitive.

    Like

  12. July 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    @Chris – I have noticed that very few trolls actually stay on topic…..

    Like

  13. July 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    @Chris – not to mention the HIV / AIDS denialism going on there as well…..

    Like

  14. Robert
    July 7, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Oh, I get it! Don’t like the message? Attack the messenger. The truth is a bit uncomfortable to your world view? Pretend that the truth is contingent on a credential. It is all part of what is called cognitive dissonance (when it is subconsciously but honestly done) or out and out misinformation when it is done consciously and purposefully (by whatever motivation).

    I have been commenting on here for a couple of weeks now and suddenly you think I am the reincarnation of someone else. Either you seek to some how discredit me by associating me with someone else, or you have some serious paranoia issues or some combination. And as far as “staying on topic” goes, on this entry, I started off on target questioning the veracity of recommending multiple vaccinations and went a bit “off target” to demonstrate the fallacy of demanding evidence from a very controlled and narrow source which is demonstrably biased. It is you people who seem unhealthily obsessed with “sock puppets” and people’s backgrounds. It is quite ironic that you would quote the likes of Offit who is blatantly and obviously beholden to the industry who’s products he is supposed to be “researching” and giving recommendations about as an independent, yet you discount people who have actually researched and discovered things that people like Offit suppress just because they have a different history.

    So then Chris and Lawrence, out with it!! What great qualifications and experience do YOU have to be the sole arbiter of what constitutes acceptable research and sources? On what God-like pedestal do you stand on then? As I said before, I am only trying to show that there is more than your side to the issues and claims made here. That is called dialogue. You seem hell-bent on preventing that. On what authority and for what purpose?

    Like

  15. Chris
    July 7, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Robert, what are Clark Baker’s scientific credentials?

    I have told you, I was an engineer. I know statistics and how to use the scientific method, and have presented actual verifiable evidence. For instance, what happened when Japan decided to make measles vaccination voluntary: Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan. Do tell us why that is more suspect than an opinion piece written by an ex-police officer who was kicked off the force for beating up someone.

    Then, provide the PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella. That is a “multiple vaccine.” Prove you can provide more than conspiracy theories.

    Oh, and another paper you might interested in:
    J Pediatr. 2013 Mar 29. pii: S0022-3476(13)00144-3.
    Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism.

    And you are welcome to peruse these:
    Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

    Do tell us exactly what is wrong with each and every one of them in detail. Make us believe you are not Steve Michaels by actually providing real scientific evidence.

    Like

  16. Chris
    July 7, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Robert:

    It is quite ironic that you would quote the likes of Offit who is blatantly and obviously beholden to the industry who’s products he is supposed to be “researching” and giving recommendations about as an independent, yet you discount people who have actually researched and discovered things that people like Offit suppress just because they have a different history.

    Where on this thread did anyone quote Offit? And why is a former policeman more qualified than Dr. Offit? Provide Clark Baker’s qualifications in biology, chemistry, epidemiology, and immunology in detail so that we can determine the relative expertise.

    Like

  17. July 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    @Robert – you show little interest in engaging in a real discussion, since you continually post up resources that have been thoroughly refuted and debunked – and continue to spread lies, misinformation and misinterpretation of data….for their to be two sides to an issue for discussion, you need to be able to point to legitimate evidence (not conspiracies).

    Like

  18. July 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Back to the topic of the post – my sons’ pediatrician’s office recently converted over to electronic medical records & all notes / visit records are done via iPads & laptops. It is extremely convenient when I need to request the records, since they can be easily printed out as necessary (no more carrying around the immunization booklets we had before).

    Better technology like this will prevent questions from arising in the future as to vaccination status & what may still be required.

    Like

  19. Maureen
    July 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

    All states in the USA have confidential electronic immunization information systems (IIS) which help providers and families by consolidating immunization information into one reliable source. Check with your doctor or with your public health department to learn more about this invaluable too!

    Like

  20. Chris
    July 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Lawrence, there still needs to be a bit work done with the turnover from paper to computerized.

    Last year I needed my son’s immunization records prior to surgery, and I needed proof of measles vaccination for my daughter before she attended college. So I called up to get both of them. Someone had to go through their paper files and transfer them to a computer.

    And it is mostly accurate, except for one small thing for daughter’s records. She was born a year before the DTaP was approved by the FDA, but all of her DTP vaccines are listed as DTaP.

    It is not a big deal, but just a note to check those records.

    Like

  21. July 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

    @Chris – absolutely. I guess I’m a little better off because my kids are of an age where their medical histories are fairly short (thus easier to transfer and track).

    It does always pay to check – as you state, to make sure that all the proper notations are there (because no one is perfect, lol).

    Like

  22. Quokka
    July 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I recently travelled overseas and needed to visit a travel doctor to get prophylactic malaria meds ( great to see the developments in the area of a malaria vaccine btw) and the doctor needed to know my entire vaccine history – I had the old vaccination cards that were barely readable. I have always made sure I am up to date with my vaccines because I work with vulnerable populations.

    I have lived and worked in the UK and here in Australia and look forward to the day when I can just give my doctor a record number and they can see my entire history rather than me needing tattered vaccine cards which are so easily lost.

    And Robert – as a registered psycholgist I politely request you stop throwing around severe mental health diagnoses and terms you don’t appear to understand. It is extremely offensive to people who are dealing with debilitating mental health issues when lay people misuse and abuse these terms as insults.

    Like

  23. Robert
    July 9, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Chris :
    Robert, what are Clark Baker’s scientific credentials?
    I have told you, I was an engineer. I know statistics and how to use the scientific method, and have presented actual verifiable evidence. For instance, what happened when Japan decided to make measles vaccination voluntary: Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan. Do tell us why that is more suspect than an opinion piece written by an ex-police officer who was kicked off the force for beating up someone.
    Then, provide the PubMed indexed study by a qualified reputable researcher that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella. That is a “multiple vaccine.” Prove you can provide more than conspiracy theories.
    Oh, and another paper you might interested in:
    J Pediatr. 2013 Mar 29. pii: S0022-3476(13)00144-3.
    Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism.
    And you are welcome to peruse these:
    Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence
    Do tell us exactly what is wrong with each and every one of them in detail. Make us believe you are not Steve Michaels by actually providing real scientific evidence.

    So you are an engineer? And that qualifies you to comment here? By your own convoluted standards you should recuse yourself now, go home and be quiet. If you truly understood the scientific method, you would recongize that it is not utilized in vaccine and other medical research. Studies which have the subject and control groups having virtually identical histories of vaccine receipt and then adding or subtracting one vaccine is not scientific. Congress is now starting to push for a full vaccinated versus unvaccinated overall health outcome study. Do you support this or are you afraid of it? I support it as long as it is independently conducted.

    If you actually knew anything about the objections to vaccines, you would know that the pathogen additives are only a minor consideration in the safety issues, but then again, you do seem to like to create an argument you can handle and then answer it instead of actually looking at other peoples views objectively.

    One last thing, this “Steve Micaheals” thing is getting old quickly. Are you really that paranoid and unable to deal with opposing views that everyone who disagrees with you must be the same person?

    Like

  24. dingo199
    July 9, 2013 at 4:08 am

    Robert :

    Chris :Robert, what are Clark Baker’s scientific credentials?

    So you are an engineer? And that qualifies you to comment here? By your own convoluted standards you should recuse yourself now, go home and be quiet.

    Robert, the distinction is that you are citing the opinions of Clark Baker, claiming he has some kind of expertise and authority in this area.
    But he doesn’t, which is merely what Chris is pointing out.
    It is quite valid to ask why you think Clark Baker merits attention, since you are the one who evidently thinks he does.

    I don’t see anyone citing Chris as a vaccine expert, and she does not say she is. Now were I to push her forward as such, then you would be perfectly entitled to ask me why I claim she is a vaccine expert.

    By the way, may we ask what your own job/profession/interest is? Chris has stated she is an engineer, so she has a grasp of the scientific method and clearly undderstands what valid evidence is.

    So what do you do?

    Like

  25. Gray Falcon
    July 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

    It’s not paranoid to point out that you happen to use the exact same posting style, grammar, and trickery as someone who has been banned from here before, it’s basic Internet detective work.

    Like

  26. dingo199
    July 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I guess Quokka’s doctor is being pretty thorough, and not only would he advise/prescribe antimalarials (which needn’t necessarily be malarone btw) he established whether the destinations Quokka was travelling to required up to date vaccinations. It is for this reasion that having a good vaccination record handy comes into its own. Quite obvious really. Why Robert should acuse Quokka of lying is quite beyond me, considering his own track record.

    But travel vaccines are a different bucket of tuna to the type of electronic vaccine records for infants in the US that are the subject of this article. It will be obvious that travellers need to have hard copies of any vaccination certificates on hand since, as Robert points out, certain countries require validation of vaccination before allowing entry.

    Like

  27. July 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Apparently in Robert’s world, asking questions about a source’s scientific credentials or asking him to provide peer reviewed science to support his opinions is considered “delusional and paranoid” behavior. Duly noted.

    I’ve noticed a common theme with antivaxxers in that not only do they pretend they are only interested in presenting both sides (although oddly enough their anti-vaccine ‘side’ never seems to require the same burden of proof as they require from the pro-vaccine ‘side’), but when their information or source is challenged / countered / questioned they simply move on to another subject as if it never happened.

    In most cases they can have a statement or opinion thoroughly debunked by numerous sources and not only will they refuse to acknowledge this fact, they will actually make the same false claims time and time again in other messages and on other sites. It is classic intellectual dishonesty.

    Between the ever-present sockpuppetry and the over-reliance upon logical fallacies, it seems the vast majority of antivaxxers simply have no idea how to engage in honest discussion.

    Like

  28. Chris
    July 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Dingo: ” certain countries require validation of vaccination before allowing entry.”

    And from my experience, if there is an outbreak like yellow fever, you need to have proof of vaccination when you are even in the back country. We were warned if the local Guardia asked for them and you did not have them, you would be detained and given a yellow fever vaccine whether you wanted one or not.

    (when I was in high school we lived where there was a dictatorship, which makes me always amused at those who complain that freedoms are being taken away, especially since a later dictator’s thugs murdered my chemistry teacher)

    Like

  29. Quokka
    July 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I was actually travelling to Africa and planning to spend a week in Kruger National Park in April which is why I needed the malaria meds. Sitting by the braai with a gin and tonic (purely medicinal) after a long day wildlife spotting was magical.

    Robert – I grew up in a house hold with a sister for whom, because of her disability, a VPD could easily have been fatal. I have spent the last 25 years working with children with disability and their families and before that did my training in hospitals and care/rehab facilities. Again highly vulnerable populations – a teenager with Duchenne’s MD getting any type of infection could be fatal. Being a responsible member of the community all of my vaccines are up to date as are my records.

    Perhaps you could try managing your anger with some alternate strategies, your current methods awould not appear to working.

    Like

  30. dingo199
    July 10, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Quokka :Perhaps you could try managing your anger with some alternate strategies, your current methods awould not appear to working.

    I guess because Robert is a liar, his default position is that everyone else must be too.

    Like

  31. August 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm

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  1. July 9, 2013 at 2:54 am

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