Since 2004, Southwestern AHEC has served as the Immunization Action Plan Program Coordinator for Bridgeport, under a contract with the State of CT Dept of Public Health. The goal of the IAP Program is to increase children’s immunization levels, with a focus on 0-2 year olds. Key activities of the IAP Program are:
- Improve vaccine delivery to participating pediatric offices
- Track individual children’s vaccination histories, using CIRTS (Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System)
- Locate children “lost” to tracking, through collaborative efforts with community partners
- Conduct community outreach to targeted parents and pregnant women
- Provide education and assessment opportunities to participating pediatric offices
- Conduct promotional campaigns during national immunization recognition week and month
- The Bridgeport immunization rate has increased from 65% in 2006 to 77% in 2009.
- Southwestern AHEC hosts a Bridgeport Immunization Advisory Council to provide vaccine updates and share best practices among pediatric and family practices.
- Staff created “CIRTS BINGO” for use as a training tool for local parents and community service agency staff. In 2008 and 2009, more than 250 parents have learned about the CT vaccine registry through this fun and informative tool.
- Outreach is conducted each year at numerous community health fairs, schools, social service agencies and faith-based organizations, reaching hundreds of parents with information about preventable disease, immunizations and the CIRTS program.
- Support efforts of local pediatric and family practices to achieve a 78% immunization rate for Bridgeport’s CIRTS-registered children in 2010, and 80% in 2011.
- Support the 2 local hospitals’ efforts to reduce the CIRTS refusal rate of their newborn parents by .5% from 2008 to 2010. Staff visit each Bridgeport hospital on a quarterly basis.
- Conduct 8-10 parent educational presentations each year (health fairs, CIRTS BINGO, etc).
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