The Great Vaccination Record Hunt

In my son’s world of overachiever like planning, I mentioned how he had printed out the vaccination recommendations for travel to Nepal.  Being a year out, you would think it’s way too early to worry about such a thing (I certainly thought that!) but then I realized: many of these are series shots, many are damn expensive since they aren’t covered by insurance, AND finding out what we both had already had vaccination wise would be a chore.  So I figured I might as well go ahead and gather up our records to have a some evidence I was working on the assignments he’s tasked me with.

My son’s records turned out to be quite simple.  Thank you technology.  A phone call to the school district and a single fax later and I had the majority of his record.  It has all the important vaccinations listed but is oddly incomplete…it’s missing influenza and meningitis records I know (which were given at the school so double oddness), has some incorrect dates (two of the same shots given on the same day), and has measles, mumps, and rubella listed individually on different days even though he was given the combined MMR vaccine.  No idea or explanation on the oddities but, frankly, I’m not concerned either. I have papers that say he had them so all is good.

I, on the other hand, am the difficult one.  Both my parents are deceased so it’s not like I have a box of family records lying around.  I attended the same school my son is now at and, on a lark, asked how long they kept their records.  Turns out they still have records back to 1961.

“EXCEPT,” she adds, “for 19__ and 19__ as they were ruined in a flood at the storage building.”

Yep, you guessed it.  The year before and after my birth.  She suggested I try my pediatrician at the time (he was like 80 when I was a baby so no way he’s still around) or the local health department.  Health department it is.

“We never destroy records. Some are on microfilm and not digitized yet but we keep them all.”

“You are a life saver.”

“Well, except for a 6 month period in 1943 and a 4 year span in the early seventies.  Those were being worked on when the courthouse burned down.  You remember that? That fire that took out all the records, birth certificates and all?”

I’ve known for ages about the birth certificate issue, of course. I can’t get one locally because I have to get a state certified record of birth because of the fire.  Now, sadly, I know about the vaccination records as well.

Bit of a quandry really until a library patron who is a retired nurse happened to overhear my predicament.  Her suggestion? Make it up.  I couldn’t have gone to school without having them and unless my parents were terrible people they would’ve followed the standarized schedule closely enough that I could guess.  The only exception, she noted, was polio.  Because of the year of my birth, there is some confusion over what type of vaccine I would have been given if any at all.  Oral was the standard, IPV was being tested but due to contaminated batches during my birth year, some children weren’t given anything at all.  Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no way to find that information out. Clearly, the vaccinations are winning this war.

Pesky vaccinations: 3.  That80sgirl: 0.


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