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State Website To Help Parents Track Kids' Vaccines

Last updated on Tuesday, July 24, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - By the time Hoosier kids enter kindergarten, they need to have shots to protect against 14 diseases.

Erin Murphy of WISH TV reports that for parents, staying on top of those vaccinations can be challenging. But now, there's a new state program that will help.

In the first 18 months of life a baby will get 23 shots, and that's just the beginning. The responsibility to keep track falls on the parent's shoulder, but now a new website called My Vax Indiana will give moms and dads an up-to-date record.

Stephanie Moore-Pate, who works at a homeless shelter through The Salvation Army, sees a lot of families come in that either don't have their kid's vaccination records or whose kids have never been vaccinated.

"When they're in domestic violence, you just don't think about it. You just think about your survival every day, and so a lot of times we help our ladies get caught up on such things as shots," she said.

Now a new state program called My Vax Indiana will have children's vaccination records all online.

"Immunizations schedules do get very complicated and are very difficult, especially as you're planning catch-up immunizations. And that can be hard even on health care workers. So having an automated system makes it much easier," said Dr. Chris Belcher, who specializes in pediatric infectious diseases at St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.

Belcher said the information comes from the state immunization system called CHIRP. It's updated by health care workers, state schools and doctors who take part in the program. Now parents will have access to that information.

"Things like Hurricane Katrina wiped out paper records in offices, and many children had to be completely revaccinated because the records were gone," Belcher said. "A state immunization registry that provides proof and is backed up and secure provides insurance against that."

One local mother, Renea Moser, said a program like My Vax Indiana would have saved her time as she dealt with the headache of lost records.

"It was horrible ... because you have to go to this person, and you have to go to that person, and then they don't know where your records are at," she said of her experience trying to get proof of vaccinations.

To gain access, Hoosier parents will need a personal identification number, which they get from their child's doctor. Not all private practice doctors participate, so parents can also check with their child's school or the State Health Department to get their PIN, Belcher said.

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