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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using an Online Vaccination Registry to Confirm Tetanus Status in Children with Tetanus-prone Wounds


Introduction: Tetanus vaccination status is an important consideration for emergency physicians managing patients with tetanus-prone wounds. Physicians must identify at-risk patients, but vaccination histories are often unknown and commonly lack documentation. The study objective was to determine the potential impact of an online immunization registry (Florida SHOTS – State Health Online Tracking System) on the appropriate administration of tetanus prophylaxis for pediatric patients managed in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all patients less than 18 years old who received ED tetanus prophylaxis at two separate sites between January 2011–May 2015. The Florida SHOTS database was accessed to determine vaccination status for each patient in the study group at the time of the encounter. We compared vaccination status for each patient, as documented in the electronic health record (EHR), with Florida SHOTS data to determine whether tetanus prophylaxis was indicated. The proportion of patients receiving tetanus prophylaxis in the ED, who were subsequently identified as up to date with tetanus vaccination per Florida SHOTS, was determined.

Results: We identified 743 patients who received ED tetanus prophylaxis. Forty-three (6%) were listed as “up to date” on the EHR and 656 (93%) were listed as “not up to date.” In comparison, 209 (30%) of the study group were identified as “up to date” via Florida SHOTS, and 477 (70%) were not. We accessed the Florida SHOTS record retrospectively to determine whether the vaccine was required. It was determined that 174 (25%) of the patients received tetanus prophylaxis unnecessarily as they were already up to date per Florida SHOTS documentation.

Conclusions: Twenty-five percent of patients vaccinated for tetanus in the ED could have been spared if Florida SHOTS data had been used by providers at the time of the encounter. Access to Florida SHOTS provides valuable information regarding vaccination status that impacts patient care and resource utilization in the ED.

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