ATLANTA, GA- Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala recently announced that the nation's childhood immunization coverage rates for 1999 are the highest ever recorded. The overall immunization rate for preschool children is 80%. In 1992, the rate was 55%. One way the HHS hopes to further increase immunization rates is by financially encouraging state Medicaid programs to support childhood immunization registries. Immunization registries help parents and healthcare providers keep track of the vaccinations children need from birth to age two. Catching missed immunizations is easier if all the child's records are kept in a single place. In states where the registry is developed, owned, and operated by a public health or non-Medicaid agency, Medicaid will match 50% of the states' costs. In states where the registry is developed, owned, and/or operated by its state Medicaid agency as part of its management information system, federal funds will match between 75% and 90%, based on the type of expense.
For information about vaccines, call the National Immunization Hotline toll free at (800) 232-2522 (English) or (800) 232-0233 (Spanish).