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In adoption, concern over immunization is generally an issue in INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION. However, it is also true that foster children may not have received proper immunizations because of frequent moves. Adoptive parents should attempt to obtain the child's immunization records and if this is not possible, should notify the child's doctor that the child needs a complete set of immunizations.

The problem that arises in the case of intercountry adoption is that immunizations are either not performed in the non-U.S. country from where the child was adopted or the vaccines are considered inadequate or ineffectual. As a result, most physicians experienced in intercountry adoption recommend that all pediatric immunizations be repeated.

Studies of children adopted from other countries have revealed that few children receive adequate immunizations and nearly all have not been immunized against hepatitis or rubella. Even if children had been immunized properly, medical experts say they may be repeated without causing harm and it's better to err on the side of caution. Pediatricians should refer to The American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Infectious Diseases (colloquially known as the "Red Book") to determine which immunizations and other tests are needed.

Mary Kathleen Lears, et al., "International Adoption: A Primer for Pediatric Nurses," Pediatric Nursing 24 (November 1998): 578.

Find more information on immunizations

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