A review of state legislation related to immunization registries.
BACKGROUND: Since the early 1990s- a concerted effort has been made to develop community- and state-based immunization registries. A 1995 survey showed that nine states had laws specifically authorizing immunization registries. This survey was conducted to describe the current status of legislation and policies addressing immunization registries and the sharing of immunization information. METHODS: A telephone survey was administered from September 1997 to February 1998 to immunization program managers and/or their designees within the state health department of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the survey items were later updated through follow-up interviews and informal communications. Copies of legislation- administrative rules and regulations- and immunization registry policies were collected for review. RESULTS: As of October 2000- 24 of 51 states (47%) had laws (21) or rules (3) specifically authorizing an immunization registry. Nine additional states (18%) have laws specifically addressing the sharing of immunization information. CONCLUSIONS: Over half of the states have enacted legislation or rules addressing registries or the sharing of immunization information. Further research should be conducted to assess the impact of this legislation on immunization registries.