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New Hampshire

October 5, 2011

N.H., Mass. lack vaccination registries

(Continued)

"I think there's a slim chance of it happening because vaccine registries are expensive to set up and maintain," he said.

"New Hampshire is a small state with no broad-based taxes. We have a Republican-led Legislature here and they have no interest in funding such things, no matter what the benefit may be."

But he said the state is still doing a good job immunizing the population.

"New Hampshire is among the top states in the country at achieving high levels of immunization, even without registries," he said.

"But we could do an even better job if we had registries."

In Massachusetts, legislation is pending that would provide around $2 million to run a registry by charging insurance companies fees.

The measure failed the past few years, but this time, advocates like Dr. Sean Palfrey, professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University's School of Medicine, are optimistic.

"We've struggled and we're behind a large number of states," Palfrey said. "We started a registry about 10 years ago and then withdrew it because it wasn't accurate. It does cost money and it's difficult to roll out to practices that have a wide variety of electronic medical records."

Despite the challenges, a Massachusetts registry is now in the pilot stage, he said.

"We're in the process of trying to introduce the registry to individual practices, teach them how to use the system and learn ourselves in the process," he said. "It will help when we put the entire system out to the rest of the state. I think this time it's possible."

If the legislation passes, New Hampshire would be the only state in the nation without this type of technology.

"There are ways that this information can be gathered without use of a registry," Skinner said. "If that's what New Hampshire feels like they need to do, that's their prerogative. But, by and large, immunization rates across the country continue to go up. So that's a good sign."

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