Objectives Immunization coverage is a major health indicator. A national registry in Israel is in the process of being planned and implemented.
Methods The specific goals were determined, the current status and reporting techniques reviewed, and a program for future action outlined.
Results Routine childhood immunizations are provided at public well-baby clinics. An average of 145,000 live births occurred during 2000–2007 in Israel. The average national immunization coverage at age two years in 2004 was: DTP4 Polio4 Hib4 (all 91%), HepB3 (98%), MMR1 (95%), HepA1 (89%). These are the most recent available data. Reporting is based on a 17% population-based sample in some districts and on cumulative reports in others. Despite the high national average coverage, specific sub-populations are under-immunized, as highlighted by recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Sampling carries the risk of under-representation of some population strata, particularly high-risk groups. A complete national immunization registry was found to be the most preferable option. This registry requires data completeness, protection of confidentiality, compulsory reporting by providers, and links to other computerized records. It should provide individual immunization data from infancy to adulthood and be accessible to both providers and consumers. A uniform protocol was developed, with cross-sectional reporting at 12, 24 and 36 months of age. An experimental web-based electronic reporting from the clinics to the ministry of health was started in 2008.
Conclusions The provision and monitoring of childhood immunizations are important cornerstones of a national health policy. Hence, the importance of maintaining a comprehensive immunization registry.