The House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously approved H.R. 550, the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021 during a markup session on July 21. The committee’s vote sends the bill to the House floor for further consideration.

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw public health departments and healthcare providers struggle with their immunization info systems. It is time that we invest in public health departments and their immunization information systems,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act would expand, enhance, and improve immunization information systems administered by health departments or government agencies and used by healthcare providers.

“Immunization information systems serve as a vital link between public health officials, community providers, and individuals not only in cases of disease outbreaks or emergencies but also during routine vaccination efforts,” said Rep. Larry Buchon, R-Ind.

The bill would provide immunization information systems administrators with grants or the benefit of cooperative agreements to assist public health officials. For example, administrators would be able to expand the assessment of current data infrastructure capabilities and determine gaps among healthcare providers to improve and increase consistency in patient matching, data collection, analysis of immunization-related information, and more. Administrators also would be able to provide technical assistance and training to health care providers, including at pharmacies and other settings where immunizations are provided.

The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act would also enhance and improve the secure exchange of real-time immunization record data among Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial government, and non-governmental entities in the public health sector.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.