Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GIS Mapping of Immunization Data in Snohomish County, WA

Dialine Petersen and Gayle M. Lanier. Immunization Program, Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave, Suite 203, Everett, WA, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
1. Understand how Global Information System (GIS) can be used to map immunization data.
2. Identify how vaccine accessibility gaps and the need for immunization education can be mapped with GIS.
3. Identify strategies for GIS mapping use in Public Health settings.

The GIS mapping project began with the need for succinct versions of school reported immunization data in Snohomish County. Reports received from schools were difficult to decipher. School vaccine data is collected from the state Certificate of Immunization Status (CIS) form for each student and is compiled yearly into a required status report by the individual schools. Due to high exemption rates, more information was needed on the type of exemptions that were selected. It was important to identify locations of Vaccine for Children (VFC) providers and schools for access to vaccines.

Snohomish County, Washington State

Schools and VFC providers

Project Description:
Snohomish Health District (SHD) immunization program, working in collaboration with an epidemiologist, combined GIS technology with school immunization data compiled by the Department of Health (DOH). Maps were created to identify the percentages of students immunized and exempt for each of the 14 school districts to develop programs to raise immunization coverage. Additionally, VFC providers were mapped to assist in identifying vaccine accessibility gaps.

Results/Lessons Learned:
The maps provide a visual tool for schools and parents in understanding the need for vaccines and “community immunity”. The maps highlight areas of focus for immunization education and clinics. GIS work will continue to improve communication with community partners. There are limitations to the data with parent self-report on CIS forms and school non-report of data to DOH. Assumptions related to immunization rates in our county were amended through use of the maps.