Your child’s immunization records on your smartphone

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Your child's immunization records on your smartphone

It’s a common problem for parents: a yellow immunization card is incomplete or missing in action and the school needs information pronto.

So an Ottawa Hospital public health expert helped develop a free application, or app, for iPhones and iPads that tracks immunizations, reminds parents when it’s time for a child to get a shot or a booster and even issues warnings about vaccine-preventable outbreaks.

Many parents misplace the yellow cards or don’t know if their children’s vaccines are up to date, says Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a pandemic planning expert who is a scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Public Health Policy.

Often, parents misplace the yellow card or forget it when they have a vaccination appointment. So they get a new card with information to be added to the old card they misplaced. Wilson was all ears when one of the women in his neighbourhood said she hated the yellow card and suggested creating an electronic version.

“People often don’t know where the immunization card is. But they know how to find their phone,” says Wilson. “It sounded like a good idea, but I didn’t know how to do it.”

ImmunizeON is available free through iTunes this week and is ready to use for children born after August 2011, which is when Ontario’s vaccine schedule was last updated. However, users can enter any vaccine in the app to keep track of their children’s records.

Among the app’s features:

  • it keeps immunization records readily accessible.
  • it updates records on the spot.
  • it receives vaccination reminders according to the Ontario vaccination schedule and the child’s age, as well as pointing out “unscheduled” vaccinations such as flu shots, the HPV vaccine for boys, and travel vaccines.
  • it offers credible information on vaccines and what to do in case of an adverse reaction and tips for reducing pain associated with vaccinations.
  • it offers alerts about outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. There have been outbreaks if measles in Quebec and mumps in B.C., for example. The “radius” for alerts can be adjusted by the users.

it sends vaccine records to the home email for backup.

The Province

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