Mass. may get vaccine registry

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts may soon institute a statewide registry to track who gets vaccinated.
State lawmakers previously faced opposition from insurers because the proposed plan would assess a fee on health insurance plans to raise the estimated $1 to $2 million a year needed to run a registry. Now that insurers have dropped the opposition, supporters have ratcheted up their lobbying for the state's financial support, the Boston Globe reports.
Physicians say that the need for a registry is especially helpful for lower-income families who may not have reliable access to routine medical care. The large number of shots required before children enter school can make it difficult for pediatricians and parents to keep track.
“Let’s say you’ve got a 10-month-old with three of one vaccine, two of another, one which can only be given until eight months of age, and others that can’t be given until 12 months - this is a crazy, exacting, three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle," Dr. Sean Palfrey, a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University School of Medicine, said, according to the Boston Globe. "We still don't always know when a child has gotten a flu shot."
An online centralized vaccine tracking system may be able to transcend the confusion, especially during a disease outbreak, like the cluster of measles cases reported earlier this year in Massachusetts.
While state lawmakers last year approved legislation to establish a state vaccine registry, it contained no money to operate the system. The Department of Health used federal funds to develop and launch a pilot registry earlier this year. Department spokeswoman Julia Hurley said that the pilot phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with a statewide rollout expected in 2012, the Boston Globe reports.
Pending legislation to fund the registry and the purchase of vaccines died in the Senate's Ways and Means committee as legislators waited for an analysis of the impact it would have on insurance costs. The analysis concluded that the assessments and related financial requirements would add between $0.70 and $1.38 to the monthly costs for each insured Massachusetts resident. The legislation, now with some insurance company support, was resubmitted in January.
“(The vaccine registry) is a component of Senator Moore’s aggressive legislative agenda, and identifying a sustainable funding mechanism for the registry remains a personal priority of his," a statement from Senator Richard Moore's office said, the Boston Globe reports.