It’s important to keep track of your immunization records. Just like your birth certificate or your passport, having your records readily accessible is important, especially for families with small children who are still actively being vaccinated. Having your immunization records on hand let families stay on top of documentation and schedules, but some tactics to keep track of immunization records are better than others. Read on to learn the best ways to keep track of these important documents.
What Are Immunization Records?
Your immunization record is an official document that shows what vaccinations you’ve received and when you’ve received them. These records are especially important for young children, who are still getting most of their vaccinations. You will be asked to present a document detailing every vaccine they’ve had since birth through the present day to every medical provider you seek care from, but also to various programs that you may register your child for at different points in your life.
For children, proof of immunization is required to be admitted to pre-schools, daycares, schools, or events with other children (after school activities, camps, medical internships). These records are also handy if you move or switch care providers for your child. The new provider needs to see where your child is with their vaccinations.
In the past, vaccines have eradicated or reduced the risks associated with previous endemic or pandemic diseases like mumps, measles, and polio, and vaccinating children against these diseases ensure they stay dormant. Other common vaccines like the human papillomavirus and hepatitis vaccines ensure that your child doesn’t contract or spread other harmful diseases that still circulate through communities.
As of May 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine approved for teenagers aged 16 and older, but Pfizer is currently preparing to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12 to 15.
Once it’s approved for children’s use, we can expect the COVID vaccine to be included to this list of necessary vaccinations. Whether the rumors of a post-COVID “vaccination passport” prove to be true, we already need to prove that our children have a plethora of vaccines in order to participate in schooling and travel to certain countries where uncommon diseases are prevalent. Examples of this include yellow fever in South Africa or Thailand. Keeping track of your immunization records is a vital part of taking control of your healthcare.
Until you’re trying to register your children for school or switch primary caregivers, you probably don’t realize how important immunizations records are until you cannot locate them. Having easy access to this information on which vaccines you’ve had, whether you had enough doses, and when you were given each dose will be invaluable as you navigate through life. They’ll save you stressful calls to doctors to track down information in a timely manner—the best thing you can do for your children is complete this information for them. Securely store your records in as many places as possible, and make as many backups as you can.
How To Track Immunization Records
If you live in Europe or the United Kingdom, you have to have the famous little red book. This book is your immunization record, and you absolutely cannot lose it. We recommend, however, making a copy of this and storing it someplace safe. If you live in the United States, there are several different ways to track the immunizations you and your family have received. Some methods are certainly easier than others.
In the last few years, technology has made secure storage and transmission of health data easier than it’s ever been before. You have nothing to lose (literally) and everything to gain by using tools designed for families to access this information and stay on top of vaccine schedules.
Communikind, the Family Health App
The Communikind app is a secure family care app designed to store and track holistic health information for every member of your unique family. Beyond tracking just vaccination information, Communikind helps families monitor other aspects of their health including medications, growth, mood, symptoms, treatments, care documents – all in one private place designed for seamless family and caregiver communication.
Co-parenting families can equitably share and access their children’s health information and caregiving responsibilities, while also building a comprehensive and holistically focused health record from birth that will set their child up for success as they learn to care for themselves as young adults. All Information in Communikind is private and owned by you.
Apps like Communikind are tremendously valuable, especially when there are multiple individuals responsible for caring for a child or family member. If for example a grandparent or secondary caregiver were to accompany a child to a doctor’s visit in lieu of the primary parent, Communikind enables everyone to have secure access to the same and the most up-to-date health information and communicate with each other effectively.
Communikind is designed to support every unique individual in the family (including pets!) in their journey towards better health. Health profiles are holistically and comprehensively approached, so that every aspect of your well-being can be monitored and supported by you and your care community. It’s private, intuitive to use, and an incredible tool for families to keep engaged in one another’s health. Now that we've all experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, we can be sure that the most important aspects of life are family and health. Communikind is built to empower families to be their own best health advocates, no matter where they live, where they get their care, and what insurance they have.
The CDC’s Immunizations and Developmental Milestones Tracker
The CDC provides a milestone tracker you can use to input and store your child’s immunization records alongside information related to developmental milestones including height and weight. The record can be turned into a fillable Adobe Acrobat form for digital storage, or those unfamiliar with Acrobat can print out the form and complete it by hand for their physical files.
Although this tracker is designed to be printed and manually completed, you may encounter challenges if the paper copy is misplaced. Digital tools like Acrobat are more reliable, especially if you upload them to the Cloud. Just like a paper copy can be lost without backups or copies, digital files should be backed up in case of technical issues.
At Communikind, we believe that the best practice is to both print and store digital copies of the form in the communikind app and in as many other locations as needed.
Vaccination Tracking Card
Health departments offer paper vaccination tracking cards. These are slightly less helpful than the CDC’s immunization and milestone charts. Recovering the information is complicated and time consuming if you lose the card, and these tracking cards don’t include a digital option like the CDC tracker.
It’s likely that parents will lose track of a vaccination tracking card. It’s very small, and it’s difficult to keep track of a small piece of paper over multiple years. Many parents keep the same vaccination tracking card for their adult children that they obtained during their children’s elementary school years, and it’s commonly lost in the shuffle of life. This is where Communikind’s document storage feature comes in handy — snap a photograph of your COVID-19 vaccination card and you’ll have it safely stored and easily accessible.
Obtaining the Record From the Doctor or the State
Your doctor can provide you with an updated record every time you or your child receives a vaccination, but that record often comes at a price. There are certain fees associated with requesting medical records, and some doctors offices will only provide them once. Storing records in a trusted health app will save you money, time and mental anxiety, especially in the event of an emergency. For example, If you cut your foot and go to the hospital, expect to be asked when you received your last tetanus shot. In these situations, often you will be required to receive another booster if you cannot provide proof of vaccination.
Better still, keeping a running log of vaccinations can remind you when booster shots should be planned, especially in the case of tetanus shots that should be bolstered every ten years. Automating these reminders through a health app will make it easier to stay current with your vaccinations and prevent your protection from accidentally lapsing.
Knowing your vaccine history will also allow you to be more proactive and better plan for upcoming boosters and immunizations.
Being Proactive With Your Health
Our health system is designed to be reactive. You receive care when you are ill and are experiencing discomfort. And often at the time of a diagnosis, it is difficult to pinpoint the reasons behind a health concern. The truth is that you are the greatest source of information about your own health and daily well-being based on how you live your life. If you switch care providers, getting your information together can be difficult. If you need to change doctors, you’re likely to experience a significant lapse in access to your information. It’s important that you take charge of keeping your information in one secure and private place owned by you and that is easily shareable with your family and daily caregivers. After all, it’s those who take care of you on a consistent basis (yourself included) that have the greatest impact on your well-being, and your health information is made up of the data that lives inside AND outside the doctor’s office.
That’s why every one-of-a-kind family should use Communikind. Communikind is designed to succeed where the healthcare system has often failed us. Your holistic health information that gives you an overall picture of your well-being shouldn’t be tucked away in a file cabinet or live in your doctor’s office, but should be controlled by you and your family, and move with you wherever your health takes you.