Background: The New York State law implementing the Immunization Registry (NYSIIS) went into effect in Suffolk County, NY on 1/1/08. Since its inception it has been an ongoing struggle to have private providers fully comply with data entry of all vaccine records, especially history. Staffing issues is the reason cited most often for lack of compliance. Lack of immunization history and incomplete records decreases the usefulness of NYSIIS.
Setting: There are currently over 300 practicing pediatricians and family practice providers in addition to the 8 community health centers run by SCDHS all of whom are mandated by NYS law to enter all immunizations administered to children from birth through 18 years of age as well as immunization histories. There are 238 providers who participate in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC).
Population: Suffolk County is a suburban county in NY with a population of 1.4 million people. Census data from 2009 determined that 314,600 children 18 years of age and younger reside in the county. All of these children should be entered into NYSIIS.
Project Description: SCDHS staff began to utilize the registry to conduct AFIX assessments. The data found in the registry was far below what was needed to conduct the AFIX indicating less than optimal compliance. Providers’ offices were called and asked to fax immunization records to our office for inclusion in the AFIX. The SCDHS staff offered to enter all of the missing immunization data into the registry for the providers thereby improving the accuracy of the registry.
Results/Lessons Learned: Private providers were delighted to have a sizable portion of their records entered into the registry. Their staff time was saved and the usefulness of the registry was increased. NYSDOH has used this model to suggest that other counties enter private providers’ immunization data into the registry as part of AFIX assessments.