Michigan University Professor Anil Jain is developing a fingerprint-based recognition method that aims to increase vaccination coverage and immunization in infants. Currently, paper-documenting methods are primarily utilized in developing countries, which make it difficult to organize and accurately record vaccinations. Parents commonly lose or accidently destroy these documents, making this tracking method ineffective. Jain and his team have established a vaccine registry system that is linked to an optical fingerprint reader; once a finger is scanned, a schedule is created for the infant and his data is stored in the system. When the infant is brought to the healthcare facility in the future, his fingerprint can be used to access his history of vaccinations, and what vaccinations and boosters the infant is scheduled to receive. Essentially, Jain believes this electronic system will vastly improve vaccination-documenting methods, as it will prevent the loss of information. However, Jain has experienced difficulties in implementing this system: infant fingerprints are complicated to collect because their fingerprint patterns are too small to discern a contrast between valleys and ridges of their finger. Regardless, Jain is adamant that the benefits of this technology will outweigh any of these issues, as the process has already shown early signs of feasibility. Jain and his team are currently refining their fingerprint matching software and have the support of VaxTrac, a nonprofit organization, which believes Jain's research will have far-reaching implications beyond the scope of healthcare.
Michigan State University. "Scanning babies' fingerprints could save lives through vaccination tracking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2014.