Stuart T. Weinberg, MD, FAAP, FAMIA

Clinical Informatics Consultant

Immunization Content Management
updated August 20, 2022

As new vaccines are introduced and related code sets are revised, it's important for all stakeholders involved in capturing, storing, processing, and sharing immunization information to update their electronic systems in a timely manner. Ideally this process should be as automated as possible, increasing efficiences and reducing errors. Although systems may be understandably reluctant to have external processes update internal configurations, there should nevertheless be periodic - ideally automated - processes that compare a system's configuration files with the latest code sets to highlight any inconsistencies.

Real-life example: An individual goes to get the new Shingrix vaccine at a local pharmacy because it is not yet available from his regular provider. The pharmacy sends the immunization administration information to the state immunization registry. The individual subsequently is seen by his provider, an electronic query to the registry is performed from the provider's electronic health record (EHR), the Shingrix vaccine is retrieved, but it cannot be incorporated into the provider's medical record for the individual because the EHR has not yet been configured with the new Shingrix code and does not recognize the vaccine..

I developed automated scripts in the mid 2010's as a demonstration of one method to facilitate this process, the details of which are described here. I also participated in weekly HealthIT Immunization Content Workgroup meetings while at Vanderbilt to help make sure our systems were up-to-date so that scenarios like the one described above could be prevented.

An additional method has more recently been developed by the CDC to allow users to retrieve vaccine code sets in realtime using a REST web service. The CDC's efforts are described here, along with an 8-slide User Guide dated April 2021.

Publications related to this topic can be found below.