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What is an Immunization Registry?

By Jeri Sullivan
Updated May 17, 2024
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An immunization registry is a record of each person's immunizations. An immunization is a shot or oral vaccine to prevent illness. Many regions keep an immunization registry as part of their public health records and require children be vaccinated prior to attending public school. Some immunizations are also required to travel between countries so travelers must keep their immunization records up to date.

The most common immunization registry is related to health records for school attendance. Though each regional government may have slightly different requirements, the most common immunizations are administered to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and meningitis.

Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) is part of the immunization registry required of infants. The combined shot is typically given over a five dose series then a booster is given every ten years into adulthood. Diphtheria is a respiratory illness that causes the patient to have a sore throat, fever, and possible inflammation of the heart muscle. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a condition resulting from bacteria that enters the body through an open wound and causes the muscles to contract uncontrollably. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system that can last up to six weeks and cause prolonged coughing and vomiting.

Polio, though nearly eradicated in the United States, is still a required immunization registry vaccination due to the severe side effects if the illness is contracted. In many other countries, polio outbreaks still occur, which are dangerous due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. Many people affected by polio become paralyzed as the viral infection invades their body. Prevention is in the form of either an oral or shot form of the polio vaccine.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is another required vaccine that is part of the immunization registry. Measles are the result of a viral infection and are typically spread through body fluids. Symptoms include high fever and a rash of bright red spots. Mumps is another viral infection that causes swelling in the salivary glands and in the testicular glands in males. Rubella, also called German measles, is similar to the traditional measles infection but also has symptoms common to the flu.

Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, and meningitis are all infections that have had vaccines developed in the past 20 years. Though not always required as part of a government run immunization registry, specific schools or municipalities may require them for school attendance in their area. Meningitis vaccines are being required more often by colleges and universities in an effort to reduce the outbreak on campus.

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