Managing a childcare facility compliantly requires vast amounts of records, including immunization records for every child in your care. Obtaining the records may be simple, but storing them and accessing them as needed creates a system requiring too much room and offering too little efficiency.
Childcare management software streamlines your record-keeping process, eliminating the need for physical storage and offering immediate access. When the state asks for proof that you are keeping track of student immunization requirements, you can quickly answer with records formatted for the purpose.
Why do you need to monitor immunization records, what does the state typically require, and how can you obtain records and keep them updated?
Why You Should Monitor Immunizations
As you know, state law requires all childcare facilities to monitor immunization. Most states require childcare centers show that each child meets the vaccine requirements and continues to receive boosters on schedule.
You should have a record stating why any child is not immunized, if applicable.
Immunization tracking shows prospective clients you have the best interests of their children at heart. You are able to demonstrate that you hold everyone to the same standards and ensure all children remain as healthy as you can keep them while at your facility.
All states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have vaccination requirements for children attending school and childcare. Any disease or sickness tends to spread like wildfire once it enters a childcare facility, which many parents can attest to. History shows the importance of maintaining a high vaccination rate to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases that used to be fatal for children.
Although parents can request a vaccine exemption, the requirements and permitted exemptions vary by state and local regulations. Your state, local, and territorial health departments can provide more information.
The Elements of Monitoring Immunization Records
With the right tool, you can easily track immunization records for multiple children across multiple facilities. The appropriate processing and storage of records enables efficient access and notification capability.
Follow Vaccine Schedules
Each state has specific vaccine requirements for students. Texas expects each child in kindergarten through 12th grade to receive the following vaccinations and boosters:
- DPT - diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus
- MMR - measles, mumps, rubella
- Hepatitis A and B
- Varicella - chicken pox
- Meningococcal MCV4
Each vaccine has a different schedule for the primary series and required boosters, and the dates depend on the child's birth date. It isn't a standard date for everyone. For example, the DPT vaccine requires four to five doses depending on the vendor, the vaccine's formulation, and the child's age.
In Texas, children in kindergarten through 6th grade require four or five doses, while a 7th grader needs three primary doses and a booster within the past five years. Eighth through 12th graders also require the primary series of three shots plus one booster within the past ten years.
To make matters more complicated, some children are on expanded schedules, have makeup schedules, or have exemptions for one or more vaccines. A flexible management software makes tracking each vaccination schedule easier.
Obtain Copies of Records
You probably already require immunization records in your facility's registration and enrollment process. If not, it's recommended to require parents to provide up-to-date copies of each child's immunization record before allowing the child to attend.
Once you receive the immunization record, monitor each child for the remaining vaccination requirements, including vaccine and booster due dates and health history. This is where management software comes in; the right software for this purpose should use a flexible database that allows you to store the correct records and data about immunization requirements and other data.
If parents ask where to get a copy of their child's immunization record, let them know that the child's doctor or the medical clinic where they receive care should be able to provide a copy. They can also petition the state vaccination registry. Without an immunization record, the child should be re-vaccinated.
Each state, location, and territory determines acceptable vaccine exemption policy. For example, in Texas, a physician may write a medical exemption statement that clearly provides a medical reason why a child cannot receive a specific vaccine.
Parents and guardians can also request an exemption for reasons of conscience, including religious belief. However, they cannot ask for an exemption based on the inconvenience of vaccinating their child.
Not every child will need every vaccine. Some examples include:
- An immunization is no longer required if a child has already had a disease.
- Some doctors and parents use combination vaccines, so the child only receives one shot. Others choose separate vaccines for each virus.
- The demographics of your student population determine whether a student requires the same schedule of vaccinations as younger or older people.
- A child allergic to eggs or other vaccine components cannot be immunized using that specific vaccine.
The state requires vaccinations for as many children as can have them. The more children with exemptions for a particular vaccine, the higher the risk of an outbreak of a preventable disease. Measles, in particular, is highly contagious, and multiple outbreaks have occurred in areas where vaccination rates for measles were low.
Children who cannot be immunized depend on others around them to remain healthy to keep disease from spreading.
Parental Notifications for Updated Records
When setting the lead time for records update notifications, provide enough time for parents to schedule a doctor's appointment and create a contingency plan if the child is sick on the day of the scheduled vaccination.
Once you set the notification parameters, a childcare management solution can automatically send parents and guardians an email, text, or other notification. For example, EZChildTrack can send notifications through the parent portal to maintain privacy and security.
Meanwhile, you can track all notifications of upcoming and past-due immunizations for each child on an easy-to-read dashboard. You can also provide a hard copy of the message for the child's take-home folder.
Simplify Tracking Student Immunization Requirements
Childcare management software makes storing, accessing, and updating immunization records easy. A central database stores all immunization records received from parents. The system tracks the due dates for boosters and other updates and sends parents and administrators timely notifications.
Administrators can easily access a dashboard showing notifications for all upcoming and past-due vaccinations and find individual student records.
EZChildTrack childcare management software provides all these features and more. Contact us for information.