DHEC: New program debut, enhancing South Carolina’s vaccination capabilities

DHEC: New program debut, enhancing South Carolina’s vaccination capabilities
The program is called the Statewide Immunization Online Network, or SIMON, and DHEC says it’s meant to replace the state’s previous immunization reporting system. (Source: Pexels)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that they are launching a new immunization information system.

The program is planned to start Sunday and DHEC says that the program will help the agency and immunization providers ensure access and availability of essential immunizations to help keep South Carolinians healthy.

The program is called the Statewide Immunization Online Network, or SIMON, and DHEC says it’s meant to replace the state’s previous immunization reporting system.

State medical leaders say it will provide a streamlined, easy-to-use process for immunization providers to order vaccines and manage vaccine inventory for those participating in federal and state vaccine programs, among other important benefits.

The new system will allow DHEC the ability to assess and address immunization coverage rates across the state, DHEC said in a statement.

“South Carolina’s transition to SIMON is a monumental upgrade for our state’s immunizations program and the timing of this transition couldn’t be better,” DHEC Interim Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said. “With COVID-19′s continued prevalence across our state, one of the few things we can do to protect ourselves from this deadly virus is stay as healthy as possible and avoid contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like mumps, measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. SIMON provides immunization providers access to an individual’s comprehensive immunization record.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Traxler says South Carolina has seen a reduction in routine pediatric vaccine orders and administered doses during the past few months.

He says he believes SIMON can be used to help providers ensure more children and adults receive immunizations.

DHEC says a few key enhancements of SIMON will include patient reminders, a patient portal for clients, real-time vaccine inventory management for providers, accurate vaccine forecasting for providers and abundant reporting options such as geographic coverage rate assessments.

The program will also allow DHEC to create a mass vaccination module to allow quick data entry of administered immunizations, the agency said.

“We are very excited to introduce SIMON to DHEC and the South Carolina immunization provider community,” DHEC Director of Immunizations Stephen White said. “SIMON will place South Carolina in a much better position of utilizing an immunization information system, to aid in our state’s future decisions with targeting areas of low immunization coverage rates across the state.”

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.