This week parents across the state started receiving letters like the one to the right from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) addressed to “The Parents” of their soon to be kindergartners. In short, the form discusses how protecting Hoosier children from vaccine preventable diseases is of highest importance of public health and to ensure this measure is carried out certain vaccinations are required* for the child to begin Kindergarten in the fall. Utilizing a religious exemption nullifies the required vaccines. If you have questions about the available exemptions, please check out our blog post HERE.
I have received a few concerned phone calls and text messages about the meaning of these letters. Certainly, a letter like this would frighten Hoosiers who have declined one or more of the vaccines listed on the form. To clarify, all this letter means is that ISDH is reminding you to take your child in for the remainder of the vaccinations required* for school. Simple as that.
Many might wonder what steps to take next. Some families may opt to call their provider to double check vaccination status, verifying what their child may need, and work with the provider accordingly. Alternatively, some families may object to the missing vaccinations and not want to pursue scheduling them. For the later of you, you will just need to submit an exemption form to the school which is found in the blog post mentioned above.
Parents may also be concerned about how the ISDH was able to obtain the individual records. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to delve a little further into “CHIRP” or the Children & Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program. This program is run by the state board of health and allows physicians and other health care providers to enter the immunization records of patients. Previously, I had believed that this was something an individual must agree to, however in reviewing the exclusion form that is not correct. Providers and other authorized users, like school nurses, may submit immunization records without consent of the individual, parent, or guardian. You can read more on CHIRP HERE or HERE.
While CHIRP may be helpful for tracking immunizations across multiple providers some may feel it is a violation of privacy. It IS possible to remove an individual from the registry. I have found two different forms to do so. The first was at the CHIRP homepage, if you scroll down you will see “File downloads” on the right hand side. About half way down you will see “User Removal Form.” You can print the form out and submit as directed on the form.
The second and perhaps more comprehensive option is on the ISDH website. You will find the same form as above in the first section titled “Forms and Reference Guides for Providers.” In the next section “Forms for Parents and Patients” you will find a form titled “Immunization Registry Data Exclusion Request.”
For a government form, this is pretty easy to follow. Fill out the information at the top and then select the exemption type in section B. Most likely you will want to complete both types. You may wish to fill out the form and make copies. Keep one copy for yourself, submit another to the address on the form, and then to any additional to providers.
Prior to removing an individual from the registry I strongly recommend collecting all data, printing it off, and storing it in a secure location. You never know if you will need this information in the future and it is better to be safe than sorry. Please see section D of the Immunization Registry Data Exclusion Request for details.
Once removed from the registry the ISDH and the public-school systems will not have access to records and you will no longer receive letters as mentioned above. I hope this has answered all your questions about the letter and what your options are. Please feel free to message us with any further questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Grogg RN-MSN sharing insights, tips, and updates on Medical Liberty throughout the Hoosier state.