Want to know what vaccines you’ll need for your next trip? You will need to know what vaccines you’ve already had first. Don’t have a clue what you’ve had? Here’s some suggestions for trying to find your records.
1. Ask your parent if he/she has any record of your childhood immunizations.
2. Look through any old papers saved from your childhood, such as a baby book.
3. Ask your high school, post-secondary school, college health service, or previous employers (including the military) for dates of any immunizations.
4. Ask all previous health care providers you’ve seen as an adult for a copy of any immunization records they have.
5. If a previous provider is no longer in practice, his or her records may still be accessible. Call the hospital closest to the where the provider was located and ask if they know who has the records and how you might obtain yours.
6. If you’ve been treated in an emergency room for trauma, especially if you had stitches, you may have received a tetanus booster. Write to the hospital’s medical records department and ask for all immunization records.
If you can’t document having received a vaccine in the past, you may have to be re-vaccinated. Sometimes blood tests, called titers, can be done to see if you are immune. Receiving extra doses of these vaccines will not harm you but why get extra shots if you don’t need them.