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Texas laws help track vaccination status

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 13, 2009

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Texas has two new laws intended to help physicians and patients keep track of who has been immunized and when.

One law expands ImmTrac, the state's immunization registry, to allow adult vaccinations to be entered. Previously, such records could be kept only for children up to age 18. The expansion was triggered by the availability of several new adult vaccines, including the herpes zoster, or shingles, vaccine for people older than 60, and the human papillomavirus vaccine for women up to age 26. A pertussis booster is also recommended for teens and adults to combat outbreaks of that disease, which have occurred in Texas and other states.

A second law allows Texas health officials to obtain vaccination information on new residents from other states. The need for the law became apparent when many residents of New Orleans relocated to Texas after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"These new laws are important to keep Texans healthy and prevent the spread of serious and often deadly diseases," according to a statement by Jeffrey L. Levin, MD, MSPH, chair of the Texas Medical Assn. Council on Public Health.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/07/13/prbf0713.htm.

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