Vaccines have been recognized as reliable and cost efficient ways to prevent some the most debilitating diseases in the US – Measles, Pertussis, Diphtheria, Polio and Mumps. Decades ago, these illnesses caused thousands to die in a span of a year. Currently, the development of vaccines has increased the chances of not contracting these infectious diseases, as well as, decreasing mortality and morbidity rates.
The World Health Organization describes Vaccines as, “biological preparation that improves immunity to particular diseases. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and “remember” it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it will later encounter.”
Although the supply of vaccines has remained sufficient and vaccination rates have consistently gone up in the past years, the challenge of achieving the number of vaccinations in the 50 states of US still exists especially in rural areas and in communities living in poverty and below the poverty line. If your community or your clinic is struggling to boost childhood vaccination rates, here are remarkable ways to help you increase the rate of administered immunizations.
Educate Parents on the Importance of Vaccination and Answer FAQs
Parents play an important role in ensuring that children are protected from diseases through immunizations. Unfortunately, a lot of parents are still unaware of the importance of vaccines. Therefore; they do not find vaccination necessary. Proper education on this subject along with the list of vaccination schedules and answers to common questions on the safety of vaccines can help motivate parents to bring their children their doctor for shots and increase the percentage of children immunized in your area.
Your clinic can either conduct a talk on vaccination awareness where concerns can be raised by parents and can be directly answered by medical professionals. If time is not in your favor, you can hand out brochures or pamphlets containing pertinent information on vaccines, immunization schedules and FAQs. These handouts are readily available on CDC’s website or you can also compile the information yourself for distribution.
Alerts and Reminders
A reminder for parents will also play a big role in bringing up vaccination rates. Your facility can set up a reminder for patients on appointments and scheduled shots to avoid missed vaccinations. Currently, those under Medicare insurance receive letters when a vaccination or even a check-up is due. This allows for parents schedule a visit with their child’s doctor as soon as they are available. Another way to do it is to call each patient and remind them of their next visit. An EHR can also be utilized. The system can send email messages or text alerts for parents that has the ability to send alerts via email on when and what the next scheduled shot is. This is stated as a requirement in the meaningful use of EHRs and undoubtedly makes it easier for healthcare providers and patients alike in managing their time while effectively facilitating the administration of much needed immunizations.
Partnership between community agencies is essential to achieving the goal of increasing immunization rates. These agencies include local hospitals, community health centers, daycare centers, county government, local universities or school districts, and local churches. Make sure to coordinate with these agencies as they can help increase awareness in regards to the importance of vaccinations and reminding the local community on future immunization schedules.
By Christina Scannapiego
Christina lives in San Diego and has a BA from Colby College and BFA from The Academy of Art. She has been a healthcare, wellness and active lifestyle writer and editor for more than 10 years.
Christina has published material for American Mobile Healthcare, MedTravelers, Staff Care and NursesRX Healthcare as well as for the San Clemente Times, the Dana Point Times, FOAM magazine and ESPN.