The New Mexico Immunization Coalition cleared a significant hurdle Wednesday, March 3, in Santa Fe when it comes to children getting their shots. Governor Bill Richardson signed a bill implementing a state-wide registry tracking vaccination records for every child in New Mexico.
With the immunization registry a child's vaccination record will be accessible to health care providers in the state. "Doctors will now know if their patients have missed any of their shots," said Anna Levy, executive director of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition, "The doctor can then use the opportunity to immunize a child who may be in the office for other reasons and may be missing a shot."
John A. Pieper, PharmD, Dean of the UNM College of Pharmacy, has been leading efforts on the UNM Health Sciences Center to partner with the Coalition and the NM Department of Health. "The registry is vital for improving immunization rates of New Mexicans," he said, "The signing of the registry bill is a great step forward for the coalition."
According to Levy, parents are usually pretty good about keeping their child's vaccinations up to date until the child's first birthday. After that, other things may come up and parents can start to fall behind in taking children to get shots until the age of five when the child is required to get his shots before starting school. During that time, kids are who are not up to date on their shots are vulnerable for diseases. "Our goal is to have every child immunized completely and on time," she added.
The next step for the coalition is not only to get the registry running but to market it to physicians and parents. "Health care providers as well as parents need to know how the registry works, why it is important and necessary," Levy said.
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center joined forces with the Office of the First Lady of New Mexico and the New Mexico Department of Health to support the efforts of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition (NMIC). The NMIC was formed in December 2002 and includes many public and private partners, including clinicians, Salud providers, medical societies, school nurses, social service agencies, child care agencies, advocacy agencies, pharmaceutical companies, service clubs, local immunization coalitions and many state agencies to boost the states low immunization rate.
Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322