Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Accomplishing New Hampshire School Vaccination Survey Under Family Education Rights and Privacy Act

Colleen M. Haggerty, Ludmila Anderson, Jill C. Fournier, Lynn Heinzman, and Paul J. Garrison. Immunization Program, State of New Hampshire, 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
ˇUnderstand the value of the school vaccination survey
ˇBe aware of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
ˇRecognize barriers to the collection of school immunization data

The school immunization survey is a primary source of information on vaccination coverage in schools. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of students' education records. FERPA does not allow disclosure of identifiable information without written consent. In New Hampshire (NH), a student's immunization record is a part of the education record.

ˇ Describe NH's approach to data collection
ˇ Assess the effectiveness of selected method
ˇ Identify alternative solution

The NH Immunization Program (NHIP) has collected aggregate school data for years. Coverage levels were based on records of all respondents. This practice was labor intensive and data burdened by the response bias. A random sample of schools with records assessed by trained NHIP personnel was performed during school year 2006-07. Since FERPA requires written parental consent prior to reviewing immunization records that are part of education records, the NHIP sought parental consent.

Sample included 14 schools, of those 13 responded to the NHIP request. Out of 289 selected children, 127 consented, 20 declined participation and 122 did not respond. Among respondents, the immunization coverage for individual vaccines ranged between 97-98%.

Collecting data using random sample and parental consent is straightforward and efficient. However, due to low response and participation rates, this approach may not result in valid immunization rates. An alternative solution may be to separate students' immunization records from their education records.