By Stephanie Wasserman, MSPH
Executive Director, Immunize Colorado
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused over 2.6 million cases around the world and is growing each day, has shown us—in the most alarming way—the indisputable value of vaccines. And though we are at least a year away from having an effective COVID-19 vaccine, we do need to remember that we already have many available vaccines that are safe and highly effective against dozens of dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases that once ran rampant across the globe. Most of us have never seen the ravages of polio or measles, but these diseases can come roaring back if we do not stay vigilant about maintaining high vaccination rates.
The Benefits of Immunization Information Systems to Public Health Efforts
Immunization Information Systems (IIS) are confidential electronic records of vaccine information which provide a powerful public health tool for patient care, especially during an outbreak. The benefits of IIS occur on an individual and societal level and include but are not limited to: data usage and collection, timely and accurate patient care, and efficient resource allocation. Access to immunization records allows providers, patients, and some partner organizations, such as schools, to access data in order to inform or notify parties of missing or needed immunizations.
With an increasing number of people traveling the globe, our world keeps getting smaller and smaller. This is especially true during the holiday season, when an expected seven million Americans will take to the air in the last weeks of the year to celebrate with family and friends. While this makes spending time with far-flung family members much easier, it also increases opportunities for dangerous pathogens to more easily circulate and spread across greater geographic distances.
Colorado consistently outperforms other states when it comes to health measures; Colorado’s immunization rates, sadly, are an exception.