Governor Lamont Issues Order Allowing Patients and Their Doctors to Access Own COVID-19 Vaccination Records
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has issued an executive order related to the COVID-19 emergency declarations (Executive Order No. 13C) that permits patients, their doctors, and local health directors to access digital records related to their individual COVID-19 vaccination history from Connecticut’s immunization information system.
The order means that patients and their healthcare providers will be able to better keep track of their COVID-19 vaccination history and more easily obtain proof of vaccination when needed. It will bring Connecticut’s access to vaccine records more in line with those in effect in at least 37 states, including New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
“Without this order, patients will continue to be frustrated that they are blocked from accessing their own vaccination records, and doctors and healthcare providers will be unable to easily lookup when and with what vaccine their patients were administered a COVID-19 vaccine,” Governor Lamont said.
Immunization information systems are a standard healthcare tool used in all 50 states to record information on routine immunizations. It functions as a digital registry so that individuals and their healthcare providers can better keep track of their own immunization status without needing to keep paperwork that could easily get lost, especially when a patient transfers to a new provider. The system was recently updated to keep track of COVID-19 vaccinations, however Connecticut state statutes currently prevent those records from being released to patients and healthcare providers.
Governor Lamont’s executive order will update those statutes to take the following actions:
- Allow individuals to easily and securely access their own COVID-19 vaccine record: The Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Office of the Governor, and legislators have been receiving hundreds of requests on a regular basis by individuals seeking copies of their own COVID-19 vaccine records. This volume is increasing as vaccine mandates are put in place by employers, businesses, and for needs related to travel.
- Allow healthcare providers to understand the immunization history of individuals to whom they offer vaccines: This will become increasingly important if COVID-19 vaccine boosters become approved in the coming months. If boosters are tied to specific vaccine products or individuals present for care with an unknown immunization history, a provider will not have the ability to easily resolve these issues.
- Allow public health authorities and those acting to keep populations safe to understand the vaccine status of their community: Many communities in Connecticut are still below herd immunity thresholds for COVID-19, and it is important that continued outreach and access efforts continue and they are informed by data. Specifically, school nurses and local health directors will be equipped with timely information about the vaccination status of their communities.
Connecticut’s immunization information system was launched in 1998 and is known as CT WiZ. All healthcare providers, school nurses, and local health department system users are required to sign a user agreement and a confidentiality agreement that is re-signed every two years. Access is monitored and logged, and inappropriate activity can be investigated and addressed.
“I applaud Governor Lamont for his continued leadership in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made Connecticut one of the top states in our country for vaccination rates,” Dr. Reginald Eadie, president and CEO of Trinity Health Of New England, said. “This executive order continues that leadership by supporting patients and physicians allowing them easier access to COVID-19 vaccination records and removing frustrating barriers to improved quality of life.”
“This executive order proposed by Governor Lamont is an important step in restoring normalcy to our communities,” Marna P. Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health, said. “Vaccinations are the only safe and proven way to end this pandemic and giving all Connecticut residents access to their vaccination records will allow us all to return to doing all the things we love with those we love.”
“We are proud to join the governor and our partner health care systems in this announcement,” Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford HealthCare, said. “We are committed and have always supported a patient’s ability to have timely and easy access to their own health information. This is an important step forward in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. And we hope this is a reminder that the COVID-19 vaccine remains our best defense against COVID-19 and its variants.”
“Easy access to a person’s COVID vaccination status is critical to an efficient, non-duplicative vaccine delivery system,” Ken Lalime, CEO of the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, said. “Many patients have lost their vaccine card, are confused as to what brand they received, and so on. Easy access to this information will greatly help us to deliver appropriate COVID vaccines in a timely manner.”
“The public portal will help parents access their child’s immunization record, which in turn will help school nurses and school-based health centers make sure that all students are up-to-date and ready to attend school in the weeks ahead,” Melanie Bonjour, president of the board of directors of the Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, said.
**Download: Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 13C