For Immediate Release
March 8, 2012
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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The good news is that Texas’ immunization registry — ImmTrac — was expanded to include adult vaccinations. The bad news is that unless young adults fill out an ImmTrac Adult Consent Form when they turn 18, the state will purge their immunization records from the registry. Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians are urging young adults to sign the form as soon as possible.
“A young patient’s ImmTrac records must be destroyed by age 19 years if consent is not received,” warns Jason Terk, MD, a pediatrician, chair of TMA’s Council on Science and Public Health, and adviser for TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program. “The loss of these records may interfere with efficient care for the patient. Most young adults do not take the time to keep up with their own personal vaccination record.”
Currently ImmTrac is an “opt-in system.” Texans must consent to have their vaccinations recorded in the registry. “Requiring patients to affirmatively opt in to participate creates a barrier to having a reliably effective and complete registry,” says Dr. Terk. “Plus, maintaining an ‘opt-in’ consenting process is more costly.” As it stands, children must opt in twice to remain in the registry: once when they are minors through parental consent, and once when they reach 18 to keep their immunization history in the registry. TMA has long advocated for an “opt-out consent process” for ImmTrac.“Opt-out registries are much more robust and functional,”adds Dr. Terk.
The state’s immunization registry is an important resource for Texas families, physicians, nurses, and schools. “ImmTrac ensures that patient vaccination records are not lost and always available,” says Dr. Terk. “For physicians, the registry prevents unnecessary, repeat vaccinations, even if patients visit multiple clinics.”
Preventable infectious diseases and vaccinations do not stop when a child reaches adulthood. Signing the consent form ensures 18-year-olds can maintain their vaccination records well into adulthood.
Be Wise ― Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA Alliance. Funding for Be Wise — Immunize is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to generous support from H-E-B and gifts from physicians and their families. TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 45,500 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
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