Frequently Asked Questions about Immunization Registries (Parents)

What is an immunization registry? What is CAIR?
An Immunization registry is a secure computer system that stores children’s immunization (shot) records. It can only be used by doctors, hospitals, public health departments and other selected programs that serve children. It helps kids get their shots on time and stay healthy. California’s Immunization Registry is called CAIR. All 50 states have immunization registries

Why should my child’s information be included in CAIR?
A registry can help protect your child’s health. A doctor can use the registry to send reminders so your child doesn’t miss shots. Your doctor’s office can also quickly and easily give you a shot record (“yellow card”) for school entry, camp, sports teams or other reasons. A complete record saves you the time and cost of extra doctor appointments, and your child won’t need to repeat shots.

What if I lose my child’s yellow card or forget it at home?
If you ever leave your child’s record card at home the day of the appointment, the doctor should have all the information from the registry. If the card is lost, the doctor’s office can quickly print out another copy for you.

What information goes into CAIR?
Information in CAIR would include your child’s name and birth date, mother’s (or guardian’s) name, and information about the child’s shots. Only your child’s doctors can access your child’s address and phone number; schools and other programs serving your child cannot see addresses or phone numbers in CAIR.

I worry about privacy. Besides the doctor and the office medical staff, who else can see my child’s information in the registry?
CAIR is safe and private. By law, it can be used only by authorized people in the medical office or health plan that serves your child. In addition, schools, childcare centers, WIC programs, foster care agencies, and other programs can be authorized to look up shot records—but only for the children they serve. The registry can only be used to check shot records, see what shots are due, and see how many children need shots.

Do I have to have my child’s information in CAIR?
The choice is up to you. By law, parents must be informed before their children’s information is added to CAIR. As a parent, you have the right to decide not to share your child’s shot records with other CAIR users. CAIR is an excellent tool to help parents keep their kids healthy.

Can I change my mind about agreeing to participate?
Of course! You can ask to stop sharing your child’s information with other CAIR users at any time. You can also decide to start sharing your child’s information with other CAIR users even if you said no before.

Can I see my child’s information in CAIR?
By law, you have the right to see information about your child that’s in CAIR and to ask the medical office to make needed corrections.

What if I move or change doctors?
CAIR keeps all your child’s shot records in one place. If your child sees different doctors, changes health plans or moves to a neighboring city, the shot record will follow. Within the next few years, any participating California health care provider who takes care of your child will be able to find the complete shot record in CAIR. For now, if you move to a very different part of the state (or outside of California), ask your doctor for a current copy of your child’s record card so you can give this to the new doctor.

How long is my child’s immunization record kept and available?
Immunization records in CAIR are retained for life, so vaccination history can be made available for college admission, trips abroad, military service, and for other purposes.

Where can I get reliable information about vaccines?
There is a lot about vaccines on the Internet. Reliable sources include: