Vaccination Records -- where to go?

I’m going to be going back to school in the spring. As part of the registration process, the college wants my vaccination records. I’m 38 years old and have not been to my pediatrician in many a year. In fact, he’s dead (although his practice is still around). However, I don’t think that they’ll still have my vaccination records from back then.

I plan on going back and asking them anyway (who knows?), but in the event that they don’t have them, what else can I do? Or will I have to get my MMR, diptheria, whooping cough and other such wonderful shots again? (Is it even safe to do so?)

Zev Steinhardt

I dont know about diptheria and whooping cough, but you can get a blood test to see if you still have appropriate levels of antibodies from the MMR. I would imagine, if you are 38 years old and have not received one in years, you will need a new one anyway. (I had a single MMR about five years ago, and had to get another one this year when I had my physical for a new job.)

I like getting shots, but somehow, from your post, methinks you do not. Sorry.

You’ll probably just have to get them again. That’s what happened to me when I went back to school. And doubling up doesn’t seem to be a problem as I’ve had them all multiple times (different schools in different states) and the doctors didn’t seem concerned.

When I was a kid (and I’m a couple years older than you), I had an actual vaccination record (a little yellow booklet) that could be carried from place to place. You might ask your parents, if they’re still with you, if they happen to have your records. And FWIW, I wouldn’t be surprised if your pediatrician’s office still had the records.

When I applied for grad school and needed vaccination records, I took a handwritten list of vaccinations written some time ago by my mother for some other purpose to the urgent treatment center physician. He then wrote the list on the form provided by the college. I then sent this form to the college. All was good.

So if you know the dates, or approximate dates, that may be good enough, even if they weren’t recorded on a super-official document.

I am not sure about NY, but when our pediatrician misplaced (lost) our kids records, they got them back from the State of Michigan. Apparently, they have to be on file there as well.

Ask the college for a form to fill out stating you are (for whatever reason, religion or otherwise) against vaccination. That’s what I had to do to go back to school a few months back. They don’t seriously expect peope our age (I’m 37) to have the records or shots. The only vaccination I can see you having a use for in a student population is one for meningitis.

I had the same problem - my records were back in Detroit, and I was in Seoul at the time. Plus I’d gotten US vaccinations but the school was demanding different stuff because I was an international student … argh, it was so frustrating. Anyway, you can get a blood test for that - there’s usually an option on the form for filling in the results of a blood test.

I find it odd that your school would ask for your vaccination records; is this really common in the states? Does it happen here in Canada, or did I just happen to pick the 2 universities (3, with the one my husband attended) that don’t ask for it at all? Then again, throughout my elementary and high school, whenever we reached the appropriate ages, every student would be required to get certain vaccines, so perhaps it’s just understood that Canadian students (or at least ones from Québec) are most likely reasonably vaccinated.

I can kind if imagine why they’d want to know, and at the same time, part of me feels that it’s none of their business. Is there any reason to believe this policy has prevented an outbreak of anything?

There was a student diagnosed with meningitis at my previous university, and while the student health plan covered the cost of vaccination for all students who wanted one, and it was highly recommended that people who lived in a certain residence hall get one, it wasn’t mandatory for anyone.

mnemosyne, there have been several well-published cases of outbreaks of mumps, chicken pox, and even TB on college campuses in the last few years.

It is mandatory in the States. You can refuse to provide the information by citing religious/personal reasons, and that usually won’t affect your admission, but in the (highly unlikely) case that such an infection becomes an issue, the school reserves the right to kick you off campus.

At the pediatric office I worked at, we got calls all the time from people who were 30 and older, looking for their shot records. Since the practice was founded in the sixties(maybe earlier), it wasn’t uncommon for someone now grown to take their own child there.

Most everyone above 30 was out of luck, though we did send on copies of shot records for some in their older 20’s.

The point, though, is that you might check with the school board of whatever state you went to school in.(I have no idea how long they keep them around).

I recently had to do this. It turned out to be no big deal. I just called up the university where I was an undergraduate. Since I needed a vaccination record to attend there, too, I had them fax it to my new school. Problem solved. Although you might need a second MMR, if you haven’t already had one.

Yep, when I went to grad school, I got the book from my parents. Based on the years, I did have to have boosters or replacement shots.

I needed my records to register for the spring term, and I was too lazy to look for them. I signed a personal exemption form (at the advice of the clerk at the campus health office) and that took care of it.

Relevant news story:

So there can be real penalties for failing to comply. I don’t see that it’s a huge deal; vaccinations aren’t that expensive and most cities or counties have subsidized vaccination programs. If you can’t get your info, just go get them again. There’s some evidence that immunity provided by vaccinations can “wear off” over time anyway, so a booster might actually be beneficial.