Local News

Internet Registry Will Help Keep Track Of Child Immunizations

Posted August 24, 2005

— As school starts, many children need to get up to date on immunizations. Many parents may not know what vaccines their child needs and sometimes, and neither do their doctors. But technology is finally catching up to the problem.

Tony Cacares, 5, is not worried about the first day of school. It is the three vaccines he has to get that he would rather skip.

School booster vaccines fill pediatrician Dr. Cornelius Cathcart's schedule every August. With it come the same uncertainties.

"You want to know, what shots are you supposed to be giving," Cathcart said.

Keeping track of what vaccines a child has received is not as easy as it once was.

"In this state, we have a population of people, even though you think they're located in one location, they move around a lot," he said.

According to Tony's aunt, Lisa Jordan, her nephew has been seeing different doctors, which means records have been moved around.

Cathcart came to the state immunization conference in Greensboro to hear more about a solution -- a computerized state immunization registry.

"Most states have registries now. They're a tremendous tool, because basically it allows us to track this complicated vaccination schedule and send reminders to patients that your vaccine is due," said Dr. William Atkinson, of the CDC Immunization Program.

North Carolina's vaccine registry began signing on public health departments in June. By 2006, it will expand into private offices.

Simplifying childhood immunization even further are new combination vaccines. On the horizon is a one-shot vaccine combination that will handle measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.

"Pretty soon, you'll be giving a child maybe two shots, but they'll be getting maybe six to eight immunizations in those two shots," Cathcart said.

Young children under 7 years old are already vaccinated for whooping cough, but the disease is showing up among adolescents and adults. A new vaccine may soon be available for those groups.

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