A vaccine registry is a list of children and which vaccines they have received. A registry may be kept by a medical practice, a school, a health department, an individual state, several states in a region, or by the federal government. Depending on which organization is maintaining the registry, it may be mandatory or voluntary for the vaccine provider to report the vaccine to the registry.
In many ways, a vaccine registry is an electronic version of a child’s immunization record. It maintains all the vaccine information in one place and makes it easier for parents to keep track of their child’s vaccines without having to worry about losing that special piece of paper that has the shot record on it. In addition, if the registry is set up to allow other organizations to view the record, it can make it easier for schools and colleges to verify that the vaccines necessary for enrollment were given.
However, some parents object to the vaccine registry as an invasion of their child’s medical privacy. They feel that medical decisions should not be public knowledge. Even if the registry is kept confidential and only allows access to certain organizations, some parents worry that the information is accessible to hackers who might do some mischief.
Whatever you think about vaccine registries, you need to be aware that they are becoming more and more common. Many states have already set up their own registries, and some groups of states have combined their state registries to form a regional vaccine registry. We fully expect that in the next twenty years, there will be a national vaccine registry.