The Washington Board of Health has some news that will come as a relief to a lot of parents: the board is rewriting immunization rules with the aim of reducing the paperwork burden.
For many parents, it’s a familiar frustration. When you go to sign up your kid for school or after-school care, you have to find your child's immunization record. Then you have to copy the date each vaccine was administered onto a form and turn it in.
Dr. Kathy Lofy, the state health officer with the Washington Department of Health, said the state already has a good database of immunization records and doctors could simply print out the record for parents to turn in.
“We really want to take advantage of the completeness of the registry to really simplify the process for the school immunization requirements,” Lofy said.
Doing it that way, she said, would reduce errors and ensure that the records have been verified by a health provider.
Parents can go to the Department of Health website and search for "my IR" to look up vaccine records for their kids. If a child has lived out of state, those records will not be in the database unless a health provider here adds them.
The Board of Health will release new draft rules for public comment in the spring, with the aim of approving final rules in time for the start of the next school year. Lofy said the board and the Department of Health want to get input from parents.
“We’re always interested and appreciative of people who do submit comments because we really do want these rules to work for schools and to work for parents and to work for health care providers,” she said.