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Have I Been Vaccinated?

August 1, 2012

The only way to be absolutely certain about what vaccinations you’ve received is to gather your medical records—from childhood, from high school, and from adulthood. Contact your current and former doctors and request your immunization records; your current doctor can help you determine whether or not you’re up to date.

If you can’t remember all of your past doctors, however, or if your records are unavailable for some reason, there are still a few steps you can take to determine your vaccination status.

Testing for Immunity

For certain vaccinations, your doctor can perform a test for evidence of immunity, whether from a prior vaccination or an infection. In the case of varicella (chickenpox), for example, a blood test can show whether or not you’re immune to the disease. Alternatively, if a health care provider can verify that you had previously been diagnosed with chickenpox, you don’t need to worry about receiving the chickenpox vaccine: that prior infection will provide immunity.

One test that is frequently performed for women who are planning to become pregnant is the test for rubella immunity. A rubella infection in a pregnant woman can lead to congenital rubella syndrome in her child—an infection that can cause severe developmental abnormalities and death. As such, women who plan to become pregnant may be tested for immunity to rubella and vaccinated against it if necessary. (Rubella vaccination is contraindicated after a woman has become pregnant.)

Past Vaccination Schedules

Past U.S. recommended immunization schedules may provide general information to help you determine whether or not you are likely to have received a particular vaccine. This information is not a substitute for personal medical records. You should work with your doctor to determine which vaccinations you’ve received and which ones, if any, you might still need. However, this information is provided to offer a general idea of the vaccinations recommended for U.S. residents of various ages, based on the immunization schedule during certain time periods.

Please note that additional vaccinations may have been recommended via “catch-up” schedules or as new recommendations were made. (For example, a child who was born in 1999 but had a doctor’s visit in 2001 may have received a pneumococcal vaccine, even though it was not yet on the recommended schedule when he was born.) In addition, this information includes only recommended childhood immunizations—adult recommendations, as well as vaccinations recommended for foreign travel, are not included. 

U.S. residents born after 2000 

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

Hepatitis A and meningococcal vaccines were recommended after 2006 and may or may not have been administered. Rotavirus vaccines have been available, with some interruptions, since 2006 and may or may not have been administered. 

U.S. residents born between 1996 and 2000

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

Rotavirus vaccination was available in 1998 and may or may not have been administered.

*Children being vaccinated in 1997 or later likely received DTaP, which included a new version of the pertussis vaccine, instead of DTP.

U.S. residents born between 1994 and 1996

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

U.S. residents born between 1989 and 1994

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

  • DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Polio (oral live attenuated poliovirus vaccine)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)

U.S. residents born between 1971 and 1989

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

U.S. residents born between 1963 and 1971

were recommended to receive the following childhood vaccines:

  • Smallpox
  • DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
  • Polio (oral live attenuated poliovirus vaccine)
  • Measles

Mumps vaccination was also available starting in 1967; rubella vaccination was available in 1969.

Prior to 1963

…changes to the list of available vaccines were frequent. Immunization for polio became available in 1955; for tetanus in 1938; diphtheria in 1926; and pertussis in 1904. (The combined DTP immunization for the latter three diseases was available in 1948.)

Based on the recommendations in place when you were born, you can get a general idea of which vaccinations you might have received, assuming the schedules were followed. But remember: the fact that a vaccine was recommended doesn’t mean you received it. Medical records are still the only way to be certain that a particular vaccination was given.



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