Statewide Adult Vaccine Database
by KCMS Lobbyist, James Paribello
Many years ago, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) began the process of creating an adult immunization information system (IIS) that would be as effective as the current pediatric IIS. Unfortunately, the funding dried up for the adult IIS. Washington's Pediatric IIS is complete and used effectively, but the adult IIS is incomplete and inaccessible to many providers.
KCMS member, Dr. Francix X. Riedo, is an infectious disease doctor who understands the need to properly document vaccines regardless of a person's age. Dr. Riedo was determined to find a way to get the adult system completed, especially for healthcare workers (HCW) vaccines throughout the state.
After advocating for the adult IIS completion for over a decade, Dr. Riedo turned to KCMS for assistance. KCMS has been working with Dr. Riedo on the effort for several years, and while our efforts were always applauded, we had trouble getting much attention from policymakers who told us that there were other public health issues that were prioritized ahead of the adult/HCW IIS completion.
Today we are delighted to report success in our efforts. After the adult IIS system was left in an unfinished and inaccurate state for years, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made it imminently clear that accurately recording adult vaccines given is of vital importance to our state’s public health, could not wait any longer.
During a crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, we know that inefficiencies, redundancies, and delays in providing immunizations can cost lives. HCW on the front lines of this outbreak are especially at risk, and often require a complex series of vaccines beyond those recommended for the general public. Thus we urged the DOH to complete the adult immunization database by supporting the funding needed by the Department to create the links (aka “HL7 links”), connecting the many silos of information across the state.
KCMS leadership began anew advocating for tracking of vaccine records for health care workers and modernizing the system. The early engagement involved outreach to the Governor’s Office, DOH leadership, and key legislators, most notably State Representative Eileen Cody, Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. At our request, Rep. Cody engaged Secretary of Health, John Wiesman, and DOH staff.
Thanks to the dedication of KCMS to this cause, as well as the engagement by Rep. Cody and other legislative leaders, we can report that DOH has been prompted into action and is reportedly making progress towards our goals. According to DOH, the pandemic and search for a Covid-19 vaccine have been game-changers for their vaccination work. The Department has received funding to get their vaccination data systems properly prepared for a future Covid-19 immunization. DOH suggested that they need to have the adult IIS ready to go in the next three months... READ THE FULL MESSAGE BY CLICKING BELOW