NV improves in childhood vaccine rate | NevadaAppeal.com

NV improves in childhood vaccine rate

RENO (AP) – A new report shows Nevada is increasing its childhood vaccination rate, and officials credit in part a new statewide registry.

The 2009 U.S. National Immunization Survey shows Nevada rose to 45th in the nation, up from 47th, for vaccinations of children 19 to 35 months old.

“Now, 45th is nothing to crow about, but it’s better than 49th,” said Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, who sponsored the bill creating the registry. “We were one of the last few states that didn’t have a centralized registry.”

Christi Smith, immunization program manager for the Nevada State Health Division, agreed.

“We are seeing the positive effects of the mandatory reporting statute for the state immunization registry,” Smith said.

The latest survey looked at the vaccination coverage of children for poliovirus; measles; mumps and rubella; hepatitis B and varicella (chickenpox). The results found that the rate of children vaccinated against those illnesses remained relatively stable and near or above the national Healthy People 2010 goal of 90 percent or higher.

Nevada had 72 percent coverage for young children vaccinated for Hepatitis B, higher than the national average of 61 percent. But the Silver State’s vaccination of young children for measles, mumps and rubella was 86 percent compared with the national average of 90 percent.

The law establishing Nevada’s confidential immunization registry took effect last year. It requires all childhood, adolescent and adult immunizations be recorded in a statewide database.

It provides an opt-out provision, which can be signed at the time the vaccinations are given, by adults and by parents who do not want their children included in the registry.

The registry, Nevada WebIZ, is a web-based software program used statewide to help medical professionals track patients’ vaccinations even when they move within the state. That allows medical personnel to consolidate multiple immunization records, recommend future vaccinations and identify people who haven’t been vaccinated.

“I thought it would be a great benefit to parents to have one place where they could check to see their child’s immunization record, which will be a benefit to parents and children as well as to the state,” Leslie said.

Smith said the immunization registry and cooperation with school districts and other health care coalitions has helped Nevada avoid outbreaks such as the one California has seen with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.