Vaccines have been very successful in preventing disease in the United States. Diseases that used to kill thousands, like polio, whooping cough, and measles, almost don’t exist now. Immunizations reduce the number of deaths and other complications caused by diseases. Many adults don’t know that they still need to get vaccines and vaccine boosters.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase immunization coverage among Arkansas adults as well as address racial and ethnic disparities in this area. ACHI, along with the Arkansas Pharmacists Association (APA), Community Health Centers of Arkansas, Inc. (CHCA), Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA), and Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA) are collaborating with ADH to achieve higher rates of adult immunization coverage in Arkansas. Specific project activities among each partner’s target populations include:
- assessing immunization coverage,
- promoting immunizations through a variety of education formats,
- conducting vaccination clinics, and
- developing immunization policy.
Cross-cutting findings indicate a major deficiency in awareness of the impact of the lack of adult immunizations on adults and others in the community and the lack of training various health professionals have related to their part in disease prevention. Each participating organization has objectives and outcome measures for their respective adult populations.
In association with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE), ACHI is promoting employee immunizations and immunization policies for staff of childcare centers that are participating in the Better Beginnings (BB) quality rating and improvement system and has created several newsletters to enhance awareness. Specific goals are to increase the number of childcare centers offering on-site vaccination clinics, increase the number of employees receiving influenza and Tdap vaccines, and enhance the usefulness of hard copy and online education materials.
ACHI is also leading the evaluation of the full project, working with each partner to assess their background survey data, providing technical assistance on their final surveys, as well as the analysis of those results.
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