Staying on Track

to do listA typical day in the life of a parent includes everything from Gymboree to baseball practice, errands to homework, dinner, and so much more. Becoming a parent adds so much joy to our lives…and also beefs up our “to do” lists.  Sometimes it’s tough to keep everything straight.

In my home, we have a family calendar on the fridge. It lists everything we’re doing during the month, plus little notes to “drop off dry cleaning” or “take dog to groomer.” It helps my husband and I feel organized, so nothing slips through the cracks.

When I took Stella in for her 9 month immunizations, I felt anything but organized. There was some confusion on which shots she was supposed to receive that day, and it was frustrating for both myself and our pediatrician. Because Stella got some of her vaccinations in the NICU during her 3 month stay, and the rest at the doctor’s office after discharge, her records were split up. Our pediatrician had perfect records of the vaccinations she’d gotten in their office but the ones given in the hospital were not as clear-cut. I was upset at myself for not having all of this information in one location, but then again, I just thought it was something our doctor would have. This goes back to a point I will preach to anyone who will listen: you must be your child’s own advocate.

So began my quest to find a place where I could track Stella’s immunizations, and ensure she was right on schedule with each one. How awful thinking about missing a vaccination due to a clerical error! I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. Here are a couple of resources I found to be very helpful:

Immunization Registries
Every state has an immunization registry where children’s vaccines (and sometimes adults’ vaccines, too!) are logged and consolidated. These registries are confidential and consolidate shots given at various healthcare providers including pharmacies. Everything is neatly stored in one central location, so if a child receives vaccinations at multiple locations, or if records are lost or damaged, providers will be able to retrieve that information with a click of the mouse.  Ask your provider about your state’s immunization registry and verify he or she is inputting your child’s records. NOTE: If you aren’t sure how to find information about the immunization registry in your state, contact The Immunization Partnership (info@immunizeusa.org), and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

CDC – Childhood Immunization Schedule: (printable)
The links below allow users to view vaccination schedules by age range, and see when each vaccine or series of shots is recommended. Additionally, parents can create a personalized schedule that shows the recommended vaccination dates for their child.
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf
http://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/kidstuff/newscheduler_le

Web MD – Vaccine Tracker: (online)
This useful site helps parents record and manage vaccinations for their entire family. It will also provide email reminders to ensure everyone stays on schedule.
https://vaccinetracker.webmd.com

So, whether you print out a schedule and keep it in your files, or track your kids’ vaccinations online, simply double checking they’ve gotten all the immunizations recommended by the CDC will ease your mind and avoid any confusion in the future. I would love to hear from our MOMmunizations readers on this subject. How do you keep track of your children’s immunizations? Do you have a great resource that reminds you when they are due? A go-to website, or app on your iPhone? Please post any words of wisdom in the comments section – I look forward to reading your thoughts!

One thought on “Staying on Track

  1. The National Foundation for Infectious Disease (NFID) has some great vaccine resources for patients and parents with questions about recommended immunizations for the entire family: http://www.preventchildhoodinfluenza.org, http://www.adolescentvaccination.org, http://www.adultvaccination.org, and our latest site: http://www.family-vaccines.org which has great information for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant and mothers of young children.

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