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Finding Your Immunization Record

Your family’s immunization records are important; if you have copies keep them safe. If lost, they can be challenging to replace. Whether you’re a parent of a child entering a day care or a new school, or an adult who needs to show proof of immunization for college, a job or the military, here are some tips on finding your records.

What does an immunization record look like? 

In California, the immunization record is also known as the “yellow card.” Older records are likely to be on a long narrow paper and can be folded into a wallet-sized document. Newer records are usually of standard size yellow paper.

Who issues the immunization record card?

Any health care provider who gives immunizations. Any time you or your child gets a shot, you should have the immunization record yellow card updated for you to take home. The doctors’ office or clinic may also be able to provide you with an updated card. 

Where can I look for old records?

If you cannot find a missing immunization record, the best place to start is to call:

·      Doctor’s office or clinic where shots were given most recently. If shots were given in more than one clinic, this may take several phone calls.

·      Schools that your child attended are another good place to check for old records. Schools must verify immunizations for all their students and may be able to look up old records.

·      Family baby books may contain copies of old immunization records. Look around the house or ask parents or grandparents.

·      Military records may be a place to scout out an old immunization history for individuals who have served in the military. A form for requesting health information from the Veteran’s Administration is available online.

What about California’s immunization registry?
Especially if your child is age 10 or younger, you may be able to get help from the California Immunization Registry (CAIR),  which currently consists of regional databases of shot records. California’s registry is being used by a growing number of doctors’ offices. However, it’s still relatively new, so not all physicians are using it yet. To find out if your child’s records are included in the immunization registry, contact the CAIR Help Desk.

What if I can’t find the immunization record?
It’s possible you may have to get immunizations again. Talk to your doctor and your school about how your child can get all needed shots and not miss any days of class.

More resources

Tips for finding old immunization records (Immunization Action Coalition)

Where to Find Immunization Records (CDC)

Last modified on: 7/5/2013 1:42 PM