Background: Researchers from the Emory University Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center and the Association of Immunization Managers are collaborating on a study aimed at learning how state, city, and territorial immunization programs respond to vaccine shortages to help improve public health preparedness through maximizing the capabilities of the U.S. vaccination system. The use of Immunization Information Systems (IIS) is essential for creating a robust immunization infrastructure for managing shortages in the routine vaccine supply as well as for managing mass vaccination campaigns during a public health emergency.
Objectives: Explore the use of IIS during shortages or public health emergencies to support key immunization program responsibilities such as monitoring provider inventory, doses administered, or populations prioritized for vaccination.
Methods: The survey was administered via email to the 64 state/city/territorial IPMs in July 2009. Data were analyzed using Feedback Server 2008 (Data Illusion, Stockholm, Sweden) and SAS, version 9.2 (Cary, NC).
Results: Fifty-six percent (36/64) of IPMs responded to the survey. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated their state or jurisdiction has an IIS in place. Of those respondents, 71% stated that their health department's pandemic influenza preparedness plan defines a role for IIS in managing the use of a pandemic influenza vaccine. Ninety-one percent indicated the ability to track administration of vaccine, 82% can send reminder recalls, 56% can track the distribution of vaccine inventory, 41% can track adverse events reported, 41% can track high-risk or vaccine priority classification, and 29% can track first responder vaccination status.
Conclusions: While the majority of states and territories possess some capabilities to use their IIS in a pandemic emergency, there is evidence that improvements are needed. Improving IIS capabilities such as tracking vaccine inventory, adverse events, and high-risk classifications will enhance immunization programs’ ability to respond to and manage vaccine shortages and vaccine-related public health emergencies.