The goal was to determine whether patient-held vaccination records improve vaccination rates.


The public-use files of the 2004–2006 National Immunization Survey, a national, validated survey of households with children 19 to 35 months of age, were used. The main outcome was up-to-date (UTD) vaccination status (4 diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis/diphtheria-tetanus vaccine, 3 poliovirus vaccine, 1 measles vaccine, 3 Haemophilus influenza type B vaccine, and 3 hepatitis B vaccine doses), and the main predictor was the use of a vaccination record. Control variables were race/ethnicity, maternal education, poverty status, language, number of children in the home, state of residence, and number of health care providers.


Overall, 80.8% of children were UTD, and 40.8% of children had vaccination records. Children with vaccination records were more likely to be UTD (83.9% vs 78.6%; P < .0001). The largest effects associated with vaccination records were seen for children with multiple providers, comparing with and without a vaccination record (82.8% vs 71.9%; P < .0001), those with low maternal education, (81.6% vs 72.9%; P < .0001), and those with ≥4 children in the household, (76% vs 69.6%; P < .004). Logistic regression predicting UTD status and controlling for race/ethnicity, maternal education, poverty level, language, number of children in the home, and number of vaccine providers revealed the vaccination record to be associated with a 62% increase in the odds of UTD status (odds ratio: 1.62 [95% confidence interval: 1.49–1.77]).


Use of patient-held vaccination records is an easily implemented strategy that is associated with increased immunization rates. A greater effect was seen in groups at risk for underimmunization. Methods to incorporate and to ensure effective use of these records should be implemented.

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