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St. Luke’s Supports Immunization in Idaho through Funding, Research, and Promotion

By Holly Miller, News and Community
April 15, 2016

St. Luke’s is a proud supporter of the Idaho Immunization Coalition. In fiscal year 2016 St. Luke’s awarded a $5,000 Community Health Improvement Fund (CHIF) grant in sponsorship of the 2016 Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine Preventable Diseases Training and Immunization Summit. The summit will be held in Boise November 2-4, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.idahoimmune.org/.

In addition, the Idaho Health and Wellness Collaborative for Children (IHAWCC) has recently joined St. Luke’s in a shared commitment to provide quality care throughout the state and beyond. The IHAWCC’s goal is to continue to uphold St. Luke’s mission and vision through its experience in quality improvement research and measurement.

Currently, the IHAWCC is focused on improving adolescent immunization rates across Idaho through its learning collaborative model of improvement. To date, 16 practices, 58 providers, and more than 80 clinic staff have committed to improving their vaccination rates and knowledge of immunizations. The IHAWCC team will provide support, resources, and act as a catalyst for the practices as they work to exceed standards of care.

Additionally, the IHAWCC team will collect data on these three core measures over the next six months:

  • Increase the assessment and documentation of immunization status in the patient chart
  • Reduce the number of missed opportunities
  • Increase follow-up appointment scheduling for the HPV vaccine

St. Luke’s is pleased to help promote a national and worldwide focus on immunization during the month of April.

National Infant Immunization Week, observed April 16-23, is recognized every year to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children ages two years and younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, healthcare professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements.

Facts about infant immunization, provided by the CDC:

  • Through immunization, infants and children can now be protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age 2.
  • In 2014, about 85 percent of the world's children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday.
    • In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles, and some even died from this serious disease. Today, many practicing physicians have never seen a case of measles.
    • In 2014 the United States had a record number of measles cases; there were 667 cases reported from 27 states. It was the greatest number of cases in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.
  • Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort (i.e., people born during a particular period or year) prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in direct costs.
  • The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.
  • In 2014, 115 million infants worldwide received diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.

World Immunization Week, observed April 24-30, aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions world-wide.

Recent progress, according to the World Health Organization:

  • Since 2010, 86 low- and middle-income countries have introduced 128 vaccines.
  • Promising candidate vaccines against Ebola were developed and tested in record time.
  • Africa has not had a case of wild poliovirus since August 2014.
  • India has been declared free of maternal and neonatal tetanus, demonstrating disease elimination is possible even in challenging circumstances.
  • Today, only two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic, down from more than 125 countries in 1988.

To learn more, visit the Idaho Health and Wellness Collaborative for Children www.IHAWCC.org, the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html and World Health Organization http://www.who.int/campaigns/immunization-week/2016/en//

About The Author

Holly Miller works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.