Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Immunization Focus Groups: Exploring Barriers and Solutions in Obtaining Children's Immunizations in the Childcare and School Settings

Jamie Damico, Colorado Immunization Program, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, DCEED-IMM-A4, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to identify 3 barriers and 3 solutions to obtaining children's immunizations.

The reasons as to why immunization rates are not optimum are not evident in quantitative data collection. Collecting deeper contextual data via quatitative research methodology would illuminate the reasons why children are not appropriately immunized.

The objectives of this project were to identify barriers to obtaining childcare and school immunizations as well as solutions from groups involved in the immunization process.

Focus group methodology was chosen for this assessment. 12 individual focus groups were convened to include school nurses and health paras, childcare directors or staff responsible for obtaining children's immunization records and parents of child care and school age children.

Multiple barriers and solutions to those barriers were identified. For example, it was found that parents struggled with transportation and juggling busy work schedules. For school nurses the challenges of trying to obtain immunization records from health care providers and parents is at times difficult to manage. For childcare providers the complexity of the immunization schedules and the confusion around the board of health immunization rules is daunting. What was discovered throughout the process is that there are myths about immunizations and the rules that guide immunization requirements.

Immunizations matter to stakeholders in Colorado. Barriers to obtaining immunizations exist and there are solutions that can be identified. It is critical that all the stakeholders come to the table to create immunization interventions that work.