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Vaccinated in Poland and about to begin nursing school

Posted

Hello everyone!

I moved to US three years ago from Poland and I'm about to start nursing school in January'11. I was so happy when I found out that I've been accepted to the program, but right now I'm really worried because my school requires my immunization card. I have my immunization card (I took it with me when I was leaving Poland), it has list of all the vaccines that I've taken throughout my life. There is one problem- it's in Polish. My question to you is- what should I do about it? I don't even know whom should I ask to translate and officially confirm that I took this vaccines. Also, I don't have health insurance. I go to one of the free community health clinics. Has anyone been in a situation like this? I would greatly appreciate any feedback!

You should be able to call the health dept in Poland, or wherever you got the vaccines, and get another copy faxed to you in English. I have a friend from Belgium who just successful did the same thing. Best of luck with nursing school.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

Translate the card (yourself, if you can, no need to certify translation). Write clearly what vaccine was done when and for what disease, b/o Eastern Europe uses vaccines with names unknown here as well as different schedule. Bring the translation and card to your student health center or your local public health department, explain your situation and ask about blood draw for antibodies' titres. I'm not sure that community clinics may conduct the test for free, but asking won't hurt.

If you don't have protective titres anymore, call your local public health department for cheaper vaccination.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

The CDC publishes Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (when I worked in a community health center we called it the 'pink book' for short). It's considered the authority on detailed vaccine information and every health department or community health center worth their salt will have one on hand.

There is an appendix in the back of the pink book with vaccine names and their English translations for many different languages. The community health center I used to work in did immigration physicals for people from all over the world and we got very used to using that appendix to figure out vaccine cards from many countries, Poland included. If you took your vaccine card to your community health center and asked them to look up your vaccine record in the back of the pink book, they might be willing to make you an English vaccine record based on the info they find. Your particular CHC may or may not be used to doing this, so I can't guarantee their response, but it's worth a shot.

Best of luck to you in school! :)

I second having your blood drawn for titres if you can. It doesn't take long to get the results back. I had to do this because my records are archived somewhere in another state.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

most hospitals have an interpreter service. Someone in the hospital could easily call and ask for Polish interpreter then spell out the words, etc. Or go to Babelfish.com. They can interpret - but I would bet the hospital would want to get their own interpretation, not yours.

Many vaccines can be done more than one time so you may have to repeat them without worry. As for cost, the health dept in your county may offer vaccines cheap or free.

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

Send your vaccine info in, along with your own translation of the immunizations. Let your school know that the info is in a foreign language and that you have translated it. If they require any additional information, they will know to contact you.

I don't see how this should be much of a problem.

Those are all great suggestions! Thank you for your responses! You are wonderful!

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 28 years experience.

I used to carry around my shot records from when I was a child growing up overseas. I would point and translate. Most infections disease or employee health nurses were happy with that. Anything they were not comfortable with they would order a blood titre. If you are a student without insurance; this would probably be cost prohibitive, I would try the first method; taking in your records and translate for them and see how far you can get.

Another interesting thing is that though most ID/employee health nurses were content to accept these records; I soon recognized some of the writing on my records; it was my mother's handwriting. I'm sure they were honest recountings, but she is not any kind of health official.

Translate the card (yourself, if you can, no need to certify translation). Write clearly what vaccine was done when and for what disease, b/o Eastern Europe uses vaccines with names unknown here as well as different schedule.

They are not going to accept a handwritten translation. No way, no how :rolleyes:

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

Depends upon the school. My husband occasionally translates a couple of languages for various places locally, but he's no "official" translator. They're getting a "handwritten" (well, typed) translation, and it's never been a problem. He deals mostly with local students entering a couple of different programs and schools, and he's translated all sorts of medical paperwork, including immunization records.

I think it's unreasonable to call the health department and ask for an English translation. It's not their job to do that, and it might not be within their means to do it.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I think it's unreasonable to call the health department and ask for an English translation. It's not their job to do that, and it might not be within their means to do it.

Just for clarification, a community health center and a health department aren't the same thing, though in my post I included health depts, because they too should have a copy of the CDC's book. I used to work in a CHC and my particular one did English translations of vaccine cards all the time, albeit for different reasons. And we gave the needed vaccines, if there were any, so we got an encounter of it too. If the OP is already a patient at one of these places, it doesn't sound very unreasonable to me.

Still, if it is unreasonable to them, the worst that can happen is that they can say no. What will it hurt to ask?

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

Elvish, I was referring to contacting the local Polish health department and requesting an English translation. Sorry, I should have specified that.

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

Ahh, okay. My mistake, I'm sorry! :)

Nah, it's my bad. When I look back and read it, my post totally sounds like it was referring to yours.