CDC 2D Vaccine Barcoding Pilot Nearing Sign-up Deadline

Project Seeks to Assess 2D Technology's Ability to Enhance Data Capture

February 03, 2012 05:35 pm Matt Brown

For family physicians who count immunizations as one of the many services they provide, the CDC is funding a two-dimensional (2D) vaccine barcoding pilot project( that is scheduled to begin in August. The pilot is gearing up to begin installing scanning equipment and training participants, but there is still time to enroll.

According to Erin Kennedy, D.V.M., M.P.H., a medical officer in the CDC's Immunization Services Division, "2D barcoded vaccines have a number of potential public health benefits, which include decreasing errors in recorded immunization information and improving patient safety."

The sign-up period for the project, which will assess the challenges and determine best practices for documenting vaccine encounters using 2D barcodes, comes to a close in late February.

Kennedy said the pilot is targeting enrollment of 340 immunizers, 10 CDC immunization program grantees and one to three vaccine manufacturers. The grantees participating in the program are: New York State, New York City, New Jersey, Iowa, Washington, Michigan, Alaska, Oregon, Florida and Wyoming.

Story Highlights

  • The CDC is initiating a two-dimensional (2D) vaccine barcoding pilot project that will assess the challenges and determine the best practices for labeling and data capture for 2D barcoded vaccines.
  • The deadline to enroll is late February.
  • The CDC will provide training to pilot participants and furnish barcode scanners configured according to existing practice workflows.

When the pilot begins, participating manufacturers will place a 2D barcode -- containing the vaccine type, expiration date and lot number -- onto the syringe or vial's primary label. Vaccine administrators will scan that barcode into an electronic health or medical record (EHR/EMR) system on giving the vaccine. After the barcode data are automatically populated into the EHR/EMR, those data will continue to be transmitted to all participating grantees via existing interfaces if the EHR/EMR is already connected to an immunization information system (IIS).

Deadline to Nominate Immunization Champions Looms

Act fast: The nomination deadline for the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award( is rapidly approaching.

The award recognizes individuals from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who "make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization."

Applications are due to state immunization program managers by Feb. 10. Self-nominations are welcome. Nominees can include physicians and other health care professionals, as well as other immunization leaders.

According to an overview of the pilot(, a key goal of the project is to improve both the accuracy and completeness of the information recorded in patient health records and IISs. The potential also exists to enhance accuracy when inventorying vaccines and increase accuracy and completeness of lot number data when reporting a vaccine-associated adverse event.

"2D Data Matrix technology allows for product identification, expiration date and lot number to be encoded on the primary label of each vaccine, which offers a significant advantage over the product identification capability provided by existing linear barcodes," said Kennedy. "Knowing a vaccine lot number can help identify a safety concern with a specific lot and identify patients who may have been vaccinated with (product from) that lot in the case of a recall."

In addition to providing the equipment and technical assistance materials to participants, the CDC said it also will develop related tools and guidance, including a centralized website of barcoding resources for the entire immunization community.

Family physicians and other health care professionals interested in participating in the pilot or looking for more information can contact the pilot team via e-mail.