EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 5, 2011

N.H., Mass. lack vaccination registries

New Hampshire will soon be the only state in the nation not tracking residents' vaccinations for the flu, measles and mumps.

Today, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are the only states lacking immunization registries that track vaccinations electronically, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Registries help you to better reach those children that are maybe slipping through the cracks when it comes to their immunization," CDC spokesman Thomas Skinner said.

Immunization registries are key to preventing disease outbreaks by notifying parents when their children need shots for preventable diseases, he said.

Massachusetts has created a pilot program and has legislation in the works to fund a registry. But New Hampshire has no similar plans, according to Chris Adamski, the state's public health bureau chief of infectious disease.

"We've looked at the issue many times over the years, but there's no specific funding earmarked for it," she said. "New Hampshire is one of the better states for immunization. I don't think the fact that we don't have a registry holds us back. We do have a sense of how we're doing with immunizations from a number of reliable data sources."

In 2010, 90 percent or more of New Hampshire children were vaccinated against preventable diseases, including tetanus, polio, mumps and more, she said.

The state is looking at other technology that electronically shares many types of medical information, beyond immunizations, she said.

"We have looked at bigger and broader initiatives, like Health Information Exchange," Adamski said. "There's a lot changing in the world of technology and data. A registry that might have been implemented 10 years ago might need to be updated. We want to make sure it's not something that will be outdated as we go forward."

But Dr. John Modlin, chairman of the Department of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, said it's not technology holding the state back, it's the cost.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Hampshire

ET Videos