Tracking COVID Vaccinations Among Younger Patients

Healthcare technology systems have adapted quickly over the last year to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we are relying more on healthcare technology companies to track the vaccination rates and give us accurate data on how much of the country is now fully vaccinated. However, there are still some challenges when it comes to vaccine distribution and tracking. The most recent issue the CDC is currently facing is vaccinations in young adults and teens. Though older individuals were the first to initially receive the vaccine, the priority now moves to younger Americans.

To reach herd immunity, we will need to vaccinate the majority of the country, including young people. In this article, we’ll explore how misinformation and doubt have caused vaccine enthusiasm among young people to decline, and how vaccine tracking is working to overcome these challenges.

Initial Rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccine vs Vaccines Now

Thanks to healthcare technology companies we can target groups of people with lower vaccination rates, like young people and those living in rural areas

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As more people receive the vaccine, demand begins to decrease.

When vaccines began being distributed in late 2020, it was most important to vaccinate those who were most at risk for COVID-19 transmission and death. First up, were healthcare workers, immunocompromised individuals, and people over the age of 65. Now, as those most at risk for COVID-19 transmission have been fully vaccinated, healthcare technology companies have moved the target to younger populations.

The CDC now recommends that everyone over the age of 12 should receive the vaccine to protect themselves and others from contracting the disease. Kids and teens who have been fully vaccinated against COVID will be able to resume life without the worry of transmission, which includes school, sports, clubs, and summer activities that have been dearly missed during the last year. 

Now there are vaccination clinics set up specifically to cater to younger people by making it easy for them to receive the vaccine without an appointment. The CDC is sending a clear message — by getting your teen vaccinated, you can help protect your whole family from COVID-19.

Why it’s Recommended That Children, Teens, and Young Adults Get Their Vaccine

Until we reach herd immunity from COVID-19, many are still at risk of contracting and spreading the virus

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Though younger people were not initially eligible, the vaccine has been proven safe for children over the age of 12.

While few children have been infected with COVID-19, they can still contract the virus, get sick, and spread the virus to others. With so much misinformation spreading about the efficacy or necessity of getting the vaccine, many parents and young people question whether it is the right choice for them. However, the facts remain that getting vaccinated is the only way to prevent the further spread of the virus.

One of the major pieces of misinformation is that young and healthy people do not need the vaccine. This is untrue because young people have been one of the biggest spreaders of the disease during the pandemic. While young people are less likely to die from complications related to the virus, they are more likely to spread it to someone who could. A study from the Center for Disease Research and Policy has found that the majority of those contributing to the spread in late summer 2020 were between the ages of 20 and 34. This data shows that young people getting the vaccine could bring a swift end to the pandemic.

Why Are Young People Hesitant to Get The Vaccine?

Anxiety about the COVID-19 vaccine has led to a decrease in U.S. vaccination rates among young people

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Younger people have shown the most resistance to the vaccine since they became eligible.

Since the pandemic has been such a long and scary time for many people, it seems initially counterintuitive that young people would be unwilling to get vaccinated. However, the anxiety that the pandemic provoked has led to a distrust of healthcare in general. This, coupled with the spread of misinformation on social media applications such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok has unfortunately deterred many from actively seeking the vaccine. For example, in early March surveys showed that only 22% of people under 30 are confident that the vaccine will protect them from COVID-19 transmission. The vaccine has been proven effective as infections and deaths continue to drop, but there is still speculation among young people that it may be harmful or unnecessary.

How vaccine delivery data is reported to the CDC

Since vaccinations began, the CDC has collected and reported massive amounts of data

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Healthcare IT has adapted quickly to handle a large amount of  immunization data.

In order to keep track of the massive amount of vaccination data quickly and accurately, states are using the Vaccine Tracking System (VTrckS) to order vaccines from the Federal government. The VTrckS system stores information about the number of vaccines being shipped, the provider, and the inventory of each vaccination site. 

To track how many vaccines are being administered, healthcare providers, care facilities, employers, pharmacies, and other businesses are all closely tracking remaining inventories, doses given, vaccine records, and new appointments. This information is then sent to the CDC which aggregates the data to report on how many people have received one or both doses of the vaccine. 

However, there are some limitations on vaccine administration reporting. For example, some data is missing or is unable to be correctly reported. There is also limited vaccination data regarding race and ethnicity. Finally, in some states, laws are preventing certain demographic data from being reported.

How Iron Bridge’s Pub 2.0 Can Help With Accurate Reporting

Ease of reporting can help with reporting limitations to get more accurate information to the CDC

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As we get closer to herd immunity, accurate data reporting is more important than ever.

When vaccination rates are properly documented, it helps prevent outbreaks among vulnerable populations. That is why one of the leading healthcare technology companies, Iron Bridge has introduced its Pub Hub 2.0. IronBridge’s Pub Hub 2.0 is here to help accurately store and report vaccination data from healthcare information systems including, but not limited to EHR's, EMR's, Pharmacy Systems, and Environmental Health & Safety information systems. Since each state in the US has a different vaccine registry, Pub Hub 2.0 has connectivity established with every U.S.-based immunization registry thereby enabling its customers to connect once to Pub Hub for bi-directional access to every immunization registry in the country. The more vaccinations and the better vaccine tracking, the closer we get to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that almost half of the country is vaccinated, the challenge becomes getting enough people vaccinated to reach herd immunity. To achieve herd immunity, healthcare providers will have to work together with IT companies to identify those age groups and demographics that are less likely to get the vaccine. For now, the challenge is to get as many young people vaccinated to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Iron Bridge remains ahead of other healthcare technology companies by providing leading IT solutions in data technology, aggregation, public health management, and patient access systems. Contact the team today to learn more about Iron Bridge’s innovative health IT solutions.

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