NV Vaccination Rate Improves

RENO, Nev. (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 told the Reno
Gazette-Journal in a story published Monday.

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.


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