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What is an Immunization Record Card?

By Vanessa Harvey
Updated May 17, 2024
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An immunization record card, also called a shot record, is a piece of paper, usually made of card stock, upon which information about the vaccinations that an individual has received against various diseases is recorded. The signature of a health care provider often appears on the document. Vaccination against certain diseases is mandatory in some countries such as the United States. The measles, mumps, rubella and polio are some of the diseases against which vaccination is required before a child can be admitted to the U.S. public school system.

Vaccinations for children are hardly ever given all at once. Rather, they are administered over a period of the first few years of the child's life. An immunization record card allows parents and guardians to keep track of each vaccine received. The card also can be used to keep track of the vaccines that a person is required to receive before traveling to another country or is required to receive in order to work in law enforcement or health care.

There is no standard immunization record card in the U.S., but the basic information that tends to appear on various forms include the full name and date of birth of the patient, the specific names of the vaccines administered and the dates on which the patient received them. These cards serve not only to keep track of vaccinations received but also as proof of having been immunized against a specific disease or sickness, such as influenza. Many medical facilities, however, still might verify the information that appears on the immunization record card by contacting the facility where the vaccinations were administered.

Although they are not generally thought of as a part of a person's medical history, an immunization record card is as much a part of one's medical history as is a diagnosis, treatment or prescribed medications. The record of vaccines received during early childhood is often misplaced throughout the years, resulting in many adults not having proof of the vaccines they were given. If they can at least remember the county in which they were immunized, they can obtain a copy of their records by showing proper identification and paying any fees required by the county's governmental department that oversees public health. These copies are as valid as the original shot records that were made, and they can serve as proof of which specific vaccines were administered in order to satisfy any requirements for certain types of employment or for travel to other countries.

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