Though Privacy Concerns Cited, State Immunization Registry Bill Passes House

May 2, 2013

House Bill 772 changes the way the state records immunizations and has ruffled a few feathers in the Texas House. 

Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, said the bill is not about tracking a person based on the number of immunizations, it’s about convenience.

"This is all about having a system that allows the providers to give the best healthcare possible in the most cost-effective and efficient way. And if you have this information available you know which vaccines are required for each individual patients at the right time, the right place, the right patient," Howard said.

Currently everyone receiving a vaccination is added to a statewide registry, and if you want to stay in the system over a period of time you have to opt in for the state to continue to keep your immunization records.

Howard's bill would create a system that holds those records unless someone opts out.

Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview: "I’m concerned that we are putting an undue burden on protecting our privacy--"

Howard: "Let me clarify this, 95 percent are not in the system. We have a of more work to get more in and we want to do that by cutting the red tape."

The "red tape" she is referring to is a clause that drops a person’s immunization records if they don't know of, or sign for, the state to continue this type of tracking. 

Howard said this type of vaccination tracking has helped to end pandemics.

The bill was strongly opposed by Tea Party Republicans, but passed out of the House on a vote of 95 to 55.