Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Update: SB 56 has been pulled and HB 103 is slow moving to go to the House floor but we are keeping a close eye on both bills for any changes. SB 56 has passed committee 10-1 - Senator Jack Williams (R) voted in opposition
HB 103 Hearing is pushed to Wednesday, February 19th at 10:30am in Room 206
SB 56 Hearing is STILL Wednesday, February 12th at 12pm in Room 304 On the first day of legislative session in Alabama, two identical immunization tracking bills were introduced and have been referred to committee.
Why two identical bills? This is typically done so that if one bill dies in committee, there is still another companion bill that might make it through.
What does this mean for us? Currently Alabama uses ImmPRINT which is a voluntary immunization registry system. Alabama Department of Public Health receives all information entered into this database for patients of all ages if they have been to a county health department or see a private provider enrolled in ImmPRINT. This bill amends the original section 22-11b-2 pertaining to this tracking system to require providers to enter all vaccines administered into the database as well as reviewing the database before administering vaccines (minus the flu vaccine).
What changes are being made?
The original text for section 22-11b-2 from 1995 is below in plain text.
This bill is an amendment to that original section.
There is no new tracking system being implemented through this bill.
According to Alabama Administrative Code 420-6-2,
"Immunization registry means the statewide, centralized computerized database created, owned, and maintained by the department and which contains immunization information consisting of identifying, locating, and immunization data about former or current Alabama residents."
This is not a national database. This code from 1997 also lists all the information regarding what information is collected, how it is used, who has access, etc. Edit: However, there are companies like Iron Bridge who link out-of-state providers to ImmPRINT so it's false to claim that this information is not accessed on a national level.
What is their goal?
A similar bill to this was introduced last session (also by April Weaver) and when I attended the committee hearing she instructed the committee members to disregard all e-mails, calls, and contact from the public, including a fellow ACVR member and I sitting in the front row clearly in opposition of the bill, because this bill was ONLY to ensure that children aren't unnecessarily vaccinated twice because doctors will be required to view their immunization record prior to administering a new vaccine. Sounds great, right? Well, that's all these committee members are hearing unless we explain to them what possible complications could arise from this.
Legislators often don't read bills thoroughly or sometimes at all. They are presented with so many that unless there is clear opposition to a bill or something they are personally invested in, they won't pay it as much attention. That's where constituents come in!
What are the concerns? These types of bills proposing changes are often made in anticipation of new legislation to come or even as "Trojan horse" legislation to allow for further amendments. We've seen this happen in other states and we all know what a slippery slope it is when legislation is introduced regarding vaccination in any capacity. It's hard to say what could come of this bill or what it might be leading to so ultimately getting the bill pulled or voted down in committee is the goal. What we do know is that sharing medical information, especially on such a large scale, must be optional. This is an opportunity to request wording that clearly states patients should be fully informed of the immunization registry we already have and be offered an opportunity to opt out prior to any patient information being entered. Edit: In fact, this wording already exists in this Memorandum of Understanding: Policy and Procedures for Protecting Privacy, Confidentiality and Security of Individually Identifiable Information Contained in the Alabama Immunization Registry
5.2 Role of Public and Private Immunization Providers Physician and Nurse Providers shall:
"- Ensure that patients/parents/guardians are notified of the existence of ImmPRINT and the information contained in the ImmPRINT database,
- Inform patients/parents/guardians of the purpose and potential uses of ImmPRINT,
- Inform patients/parents/guardians of the types of organizations to which identifiable or unidentifiable information is commonly released,
- Inform patients/parents/guardians of the policies and procedures in place to protect patient privacy,
- Permit patients/parents/guardians to review and change information in ImmPRINT,
- Give patients/parents/guardians the right to request audits of all accesses to their electronic immunization record and to review such logs,
- Inform patients/parents/guardians of their right to refuse to have their immunization history and other identifiable information entered into ImmPRINT and of their right to change their decision at any time, and
- Document in the medical record a patient, parent or guardians decision not to participate in ImmPRINT."
Dr. Harris insists that nothing is changing because the system is already mandatory but as you can see, this is clearly not the case.
I know I'm not alone in receiving a card in the mail from ADPH (sponsored by Pfizer) to tell me my daughter is "behind" on her vaccines and then wonder "How do they know that???" Because I was never informed about this system or asked if I'd like to participate in it. This has to change and we need to demand that change.
This is where the Call to Action comes in! Contact your legislators and let them know your concerns.
House Health Committee Members Contact Info:
Paul Lee - 334.261.0488 - email@example.com
Ron Johnson - 334.261.0477 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Hall - 334.261.0517 - email@example.com
Matt Fridy - 334.261.0469 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Gray - 334.261.9505 - email@example.com
Craig Lipscomb - 334.261.0546 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Lovvorn - 334.261.0540 - email@example.com
Rhett Marques - 334.261.0473 firstname.lastname@example.org
Arnold Mooney - 334.261.9512 - email@example.com
Becky Nordgren - 334.261.0432 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Oliver - 334.261.0471 - email@example.com
Neil Rafferty - 334.261.0543 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Sells - 334.261.0568 - email@example.com
Pebblin Warren - 334.261.0541 - firstname.lastname@example.org
April Weaver - 334.261.0491 - email@example.com
Below you will find each committee's members. Use our Find Your Legislator page to find who your legislator is as well as their contact info and more.
To view the full bill text, visit our Current Legislation page.