The Roundup -

Immunization Registry Information

 


At the office here at Richland County Health Department, one of the most common requests we get is to give someone their immunization records. I have been working in public health for over 20 years and I can tell you that in the “old days”, we could help them if we had given them their shots, but beyond that it was a slow process involving snail mail. Then we moved up to a fax machine and could now request and receive records that way, provided the office that had the records was open. Thankfully, technology and the creation of Immunization Information Systems (IIS) has made tracking immunization records much easier!

Today, many immunization providers have access to ImMTrax, Montana’s IIS. If someone has received immunizations in Montana from a provider who enters that data or shares that data with ImMTrax, we can look the client up and print out a record in a very short time. What an improvement! We do also have limited access to look up records in North Dakota’s IIS, thanks to their state health department. Most of the time, ImMTrax works very well, but sometimes there are delays due to data entry time or data upload timing of electronic records.

A couple of points of emphasis here: 1. Not all providers participate in ImMTrax, it is voluntary; 2. Not all people choose to have their records in the IIS, it is voluntary and a written consent to opt into the registry is required; and FINALLY: 3. There is NO national registry! We do not have the capabilities to look up records in other states. We have to have a client complete a records release form that we send to the previous provider and ask them to send us the immunization history. This can be a quick process or it can take some time.

So, exactly what does ImMTrax do? It is a confidential, computerized database that contains the official immunization records for all participating Montanans. There is no charge to be in the registry. Having one record in ImMTrax allows for the creation of one complete record, bringing together immunizations done by public and private immunization providers. Access is limited to authorized health professionals, such as our immunization staff here at RCHD and staff at private provider offices.

What’s in it for you or your child to be in the registry? Well, having one record in one location is a good start. Knowing that you or your child has been offered all of the currently recommended immunizations is a step towards prevention and good health. Being able to receive an immunization record when needed for child care, school, work or travel is convenient. How about NOT having to receive shots you already had because they are in the system and so your provider can see that you do not need them?

So, now the question is, where is your immunization record? If you aren’t sure if you are in ImMTrax, please call or stop by the health department. And the next time you receive an immunization, ask the provider if they participate in ImMTrax. You can start doing that when you get your influenza vaccine this year!

 

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