Boston city councilor wants answers on how city keeps track of immunization data

BOSTON — A Boston city councilor is set to ask a host of questions about how the city handles vaccines at a hearing Thursday.

With a record number of measles outbreaks across the country and large numbers of international passengers passing through Boston’s Logan Airport, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, in a letter to the Boston Public Health Commission, wants to know how the city keeps track of vaccination data, mitigates vaccine exemptions and whether unvaccinated students lack access to immunizations, among other questions.

Essaibi-George cited Centers for Disease Contol statistics on 839 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. in 2019, more than double last year, and the highest total since 1993. Although no cases in Boston have been reported this year, she pointed to four confirmed cases of measles in travelers visiting Logan since 2018.

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a warning about potential exposure to measles after an infected person visited a number of locations before they were diagnosed.

“We know that the best and easiest way to prevent an outbreak of infectious diseases, whether it be measles, mumps, rubella, or tuberculosis, is through early vaccination.  It is critical that we as a City take action to prevent a public health crisis and remain transparent with the public about the status of immunizations,” she wrote.

The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 at Boston City Hall.