Tracking Vaccinations

Parents and caregivers are responsible for maintaining their children's vaccination record. Head Start/Early Head Start family service workers and health managers may use these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage parent involvement in their children's health status. The resource offer tips on keeping an accurate and current immunization record.

Who is responsible for keeping immunization records?

In most states, it is the responsibility of the parents of school-aged children, not family doctors, to provide vaccination records to the health department and to schools.

Today we move, travel, and change health providers more than we did in previous generations. Also, doctor's offices and clinics store records of children's vaccinations and the dates they were received only for a few years. If you keep an accurate record, you will be more likely to remember when to bring your children in for the next visit. These records also can prove that your children are up to date with their immunizations. In most states, children are not allowed to enter school or childcare unless they can prove that they meet all school immunization requirements.

Your doctor or clinic will be happy to give you an immunization record form for your use. Bring this record with you whenever you take your child to the doctor or clinic, and ask the doctor to sign and date the form each time a vaccination is given. That way, you can be sure that the immunization information is current and correct.

Finally, make sure you know if your doctor participates in an immunization registry. However, keep in mind that very few registries existed prior to the mid-1990's.

Tracking Vaccinations. Recommendations and Guidelines: Vaccination Records: Finding, Interpreting, & Recording. DHHS/CDC. 2007. English.

Last Reviewed: December 2008

Last Updated: December 9, 2014