Immunization Health Promotion Supervisor
Office of Immunization and Child Profile, Washington State Department of Health
Each fall, the Washington State Department of Health collects data on the levels of immunization from its 3,087 public and private K-12 schools. About half of these have kindergarten students. Student immunization data is reported to the schools and to state and federal agencies, and is made available to parents and healthcare providers on our website at www.doh.wa.gov/immdata
For the 2016-17 school year, more than 85% of all entering kindergartners had all of the required immunizations. This same year, 4,061 kindergartners had an exemption, or waiver from immunizations, on file for a medical, personal or religious reason. This translates into 4.7 percent of the total kindergarten enrollment, more than twice the national average. The medical exemption rate among Washington Kindergartners is one of the highest in the country and is 5-times the national average.
The Washington Department of Health is working to provide immunization tools for healthcare providers, schools, and child cares. In December of 2016, we released the validated Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS). The validated CIS is generated in the Immunization Information System (IIS) and provides a “Pass”, “Fail”, or “Temporary” status using immunization information in the IIS and comparing it with requirements for school or child care entry. This reduces the need for school and child care staff to manually review each student’s CIS.
In addition we are excited to be rolling out an additional tool, the IIS School Module. The School Module is a portal into the IIS that allows schools to track and manage their student’s immunization data using existing immunization records in the IIS. School nurses using the School Module can also enter immunization dates that are missing in the IIS if they have a medically verified record. The goal of the system is to improve compliance rates with school immunization requirements and to keep children healthy and protected from vaccine-preventable diseases
A schools begin using the School Module healthcare providers may see an increase in requests to enter missing historical immunization dates into the IIS or requests for immunization records so school nurses can enter them. Only medically verified immunization records may be entered in the School Module. We encourage providers to make it part of their practice to enter missing historical dates into the IIS for their patients.
Schools may also request that providers enter vaccine contraindications, such as evidence of immunity (titers) or disease history, into the IIS. Some vaccine contraindications impact the IIS Vaccine Forecast, as well as school compliance on the CIS and in the School Module. It is important to enter contraindications so the Forecast, CIS, and School Module calculations are correct.
Healthcare providers play an important role in making the School Module and validated CIS successful. Having complete immunization data in the IIS will benefit all users as they make immunization recommendations for children and will prevent unnecessary vaccination.
Questions about school and child care immunization requirements and the validated CIS can be sent to: OICPschools@doh.wa.gov
Questions about School Module can be sent here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Module and CIS Tools and Resources: