Use Immunization Registries to Optimize Vaccinations

Immunization registries are getting a lot more pharmacies prepare for possible COVID-19 vaccines.

Think of registries, or immunization information systems (IISs), as similar to prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

IISs are confidential online databases that consolidate vaccine records. They can be used to look up patient histories...identify vaccine gaps...and may even help with reminders for follow-up doses.

All states have an IIS...except NH, which plans to soon.

Over half of states require pharmacists to report vaccines administered to their IIS.

An IIS is already critical to keep track of childhood vaccines.

Expect mandatory use of IISs for COVID-19 vaccines...especially since some may require 2 doses of the same product a few weeks apart.

Become familiar with your pharmacy's process NOW. Many pharmacies submit data automatically...and some integrate records within pharmacy systems or use a separate "dashboard." Others require manual IIS access.

Then consider how to use the IIS in your workflow.

For example, checking the registry BEFORE vaccinating can help ensure patients get all needed vaccines at the right time (DTaP or Tdap, pneumococcal, etc)...and prevent duplicate immunizations.

This is especially helpful during comprehensive med reviews.

But keep in mind, IISs are just one piece of the puzzle.

Registries are state- or city-specific...and there's no national policy for sharing data yet. Plus accuracy depends on data submitted...records may not be real time...and not all providers are connected.

Ask the patient for their vaccine record or contact the prescriber if the IIS seems incomplete...and update the registry.

If still in doubt, vaccinate per CDC immunization schedules.

Continue to give patients a paper vaccine case they move, a provider can't access the registry, etc.

And empower patients to use the IIS if possible...such as for back-to-school documentation.

Use our chart, Immunization Registry FAQs, to learn more...and get a link to your state's system if needed.

Key References

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Pharmacist's Letter. November 2020, No. 361103

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