How Do I Find My Vaccination Records?

Are you going to college soon? From signing up for classes, finding out your roommate assignment, planning dorm decor, and choosing your first semester courses — we know you’ve got a lot on your plate. Navigating student health for the first time can also be a challenge for many first-years, and knowing where and when to submit your vaccine records to your school can be a hassle. Luckily, Unity has put together a guide to help!  

Vaccine records contain all immunizations reported by one’s healthcare provider. From your very first visit as a baby, these records are important in ensuring you’re up to date on all recommended immunizations to support your health as well as the health of those around you. These records are crucial when enrolling in school, participating in sports, and traveling abroad. Because no national database maintains vaccination records, accessing such documents can prove to be challenging when making the transition to college. Here are some ways you can access your vaccination records:  

Ask Your Parent(s), Guardian, or Trusted Caregiver 

Ask your parent(s), guardian, or trusted caregiver if they have your vaccination records on file, whether that be physical or online documents. These documents may be in old baby books or folders where important documents are usually stored.  

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider  

Most doctors or doctor’s offices keep your vaccination records on file. Some healthcare practices now use online patient portals to access your electronic medical records on the go. For those who don’t, reach out to your provider’s office directly to check, as these records are usually maintained for a limited number of years. Back-to-school is a busy time for healthcare providers, so make sure to get in contact with them early to avoid delays in accessing your vaccine records.  

Contact Your State’s Health Department  

All states have centralized registries of vaccination records, and your health department can help you locate these. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists registry contacts and websites at   

Contact Your School  

For many elementary, middle, and high schools, proof of vaccination is a requirement to attend. Schools generally hold onto these records for 1-2 years after students leave the system, so you may still be able to access these.  

Check with Your Current or Previous Employer  

Some employers require their workers to show proof of vaccination upon being hired. If this applies to you, contact them to see if they have these records on file.   

Check if Your Healthcare Insurance Gives You Access to Your Health Record Online Via Mobile Apps  

Some healthcare insurers use apps like LiveWell, which allows your immunization records to be easily accessed. Check online or with your healthcare insurer if these mobile apps are offered and used.  

What Do I Do if I Still Cannot Find My Vaccination Records?  

Blood tests, performed by your doctor, may be able to determine whether or not you are immune to certain vaccine-preventable diseases, indicating that a vaccine was administered. If not, you may need to repeat vaccines if your records cannot be located. Consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the right course of action for you.  

What Do I Do Once I Get My Vaccine Records? 

Once you obtain your vaccine records, talk to your healthcare provider about documenting this information in your state or local immunization registry. Check with your school to see when and where these documents should be submitted. Also, ensure you make copies of these records as back-up in case the originals are misplaced in the future. 

Only you can keep comprehensive records of your vaccinations, so ensure they are kept in a safe place and update them regularly. If you have physical documents, it may be helpful to designate a folder or binder where these papers can be stored for future reference. If these documents are obtained electronically, you can create an easily accessed folder on your computer where these digital copies can be placed. You can also keep backup copies of these documents in case the originals get lost, whether that be through pictures or photocopies. Lastly, asking that your vaccines be documented in your state or local immunization registry can prove helpful when such documentation is needed.

Getting your vaccine records submitted is critical to you accessing student health resources on campus. For some schools, submitting health documentation can also be a requirement before enrolling in classes or participating in orientation week events. Wherever you’ve committed to this decision day, make a plan early to stay on top of the deadline.

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Hanna Zeinstra

Hanna Zeinstra

Hanna is an Outreach and Development Intern with Unity Consortium. She is responsible for the development and execution of effective health promotion and communication strategies, as well as fostering connections with strategic partners across diverse fields.

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