Better Health Information — What Did Hurricane Katrina Teach Us that Can Help with the Influx of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children?

Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC) is making its immunization tracking system available to health officials to address the vaccine challenges created by the displaced population of unaccompanied immigrant children.

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These children are being sent to every corner of the country. Often they are being vaccinated at refugee centers before being relocated. That’s a good thing. However, it’s critical that the immunizations are recorded and tracked.

Scottsdale, AZ (PRWEB) August 08, 2014

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, displaced individuals relocated to all 50 states. One of the challenges this created was the need for all states to share vital health information, including immunization records.

Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC), headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, stepped up to solve the information crisis created by Katrina, implementing an immunization tracking system that addressed the vaccine issues of displaced populations spread across all 50 U.S. states.

STC is now making the tracking system available to health officials to address the problems created by unaccompanied immigrant children.

Scott Hamstra, MD, STC Medical Advisor, recently commented, “These children are being sent to every corner of the country. Often they are being vaccinated at refugee centers before being relocated. That’s a good thing. However, it’s critical that the immunizations are recorded and tracked. We need to know if there are adverse reactions. We need to prevent duplicate vaccinations. And when these children are ready to go to school, they will have to have their immunization records to enter school.”

Michael L. Popovich, CEO of STC, points out that the cost of vaccinations is no small matter. According to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, through early July of this year over 30,000 individuals have been relocated. The CDC estimates the current cost through federal reimbursement to vaccinate a child to the age of 18 is $1,255 for a complete series. Therefore, the cost for fully vaccinating the 30,000 refugee children could exceed $38 million. As Popovich says, “We’re talking about information that can make a difference in the lives of children and those with whom they come into contact. With immunization intelligence we can minimize duplicate vaccinations, cutting unnecessary costs while reducing the impact of vaccine-preventable disease on the population. Such a system is in place. It was one of the lessons of Katrina, and it’s up and working, ready to help in this new crisis.”

About STC
STC’s goal is to ensure healthy populations through partnership, expertise, and applied use of information technology. In the early 1990s, STC was one of the first adopters of the value of immunization registries and the data that could be used for decision support to augment clinical practice, targeting the reduction and impact of vaccine-preventable disease on children. With the support of physicians, organizations, and policy and vaccine experts, STC’s public health and software professionals became the trusted authority that led many of the early efforts and best practices to implement statewide registries. The efforts continue today as over 250 million vaccine encounters are retained in the immunization registries of STC and their state public health partners. Increasing the value of these national health data assets is a primary goal of STC through the next decade.


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