DHEC Issues Clarification About Digital Immunization Record Initiative
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C.—In response to questions from the public and lawmakers, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is issuing the following clarification about the proposed digital immunization record program, which would give citizens access to their immunization records through a secure online site that previously were only available on paper copies.
Digitizing these important records has been a DHEC priority since 2017 through its ongoing public access project, the goal of which is to prevent individuals from having to travel to a local health department or provider office in person during business hours to get copies of their or their child/guardian’s immunization records.
Being able to ensure vaccines are up-to-date from home and patients being able to make the record available for a healthcare provider are both important benefits of this program, which is not unlike the kind of online patient health record most hospitals and primary care physicians use to make other health records available to patients online.
“The proposed digital immunization record that we are reviewing is simply a new and better way for people to access their own paper immunization records that already exist,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “People have a right to choose how they access their own personal medical information in the way most convenient for them. For some, that means getting paper copies of records from their local health department, and this will remain an option.
“For others, it means being able to access your secure records online to share with a healthcare provider or to track your own or your child’s vaccination status. The online option is a completely personal choice and provides a convenience that did not exist before.”
DHEC is currently evaluating the program internally and has no precise timeline for completion of that process.
Digital Vaccine Record FAQ
What is a digital immunization record?
Digital immunization records allow a person to access their vaccination record any time from home or from a compatible smart device like a Smart Phone or tablet. They have been in development in South Carolina since 2017. Online access to this information can help you to keep a copy of your records on-hand and to easily share this information with your healthcare provider it if you choose. Digital immunization records are not a vaccine passport.
How can a digital immunization record be useful?
A digital immunization record could be very helpful if, for example, someone suffers an injury on a weekend (when most health departments and providers are closed) and needs to know when their last tetanus shot was to determine if another one is needed.