Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Immunizing Babies Keep Fire Fighters Prepared

Jennifer Tinney, The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI), 320 E. McDowell Road, Suite 320, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to set up immunization training for fire department medics.
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to prepare first responders for mass immunization clinics.

Pandemic influenza, or a large scale outbreak of another vaccine preventable communicable disease, will require an immunization response that can be deployed on short notice and in an organized manner that is integrated with the activities of other response agencies. This will require trained personal from every aspect of public health working together including first responders.

Maricopa County Public Health and Fire Departments throughout the county.

Medics from Maricopa County fire departments and ambulance companies.

Project Description:
Several fire departments in Arizona have been giving baby shots in monthly clinics since 1994 when the fire departments changed their scope of practice. The medics set up clinics in non traditional medical settings such as community centers and malls to deliver immunizations to kids. Communities trust the fire departments and they are integrated into hard to reach populations, which make them ideal leaders in an infectious disease outbreak. The traditional immunization training for medics was updated to include information on, seasonal and pandemic influenza, smallpox, point of dispensing plan for medication delivery, mobile immunization clinics for local outbreaks, the importance of vaccines and how they work, current immunization recommendations and diseases, contraindications and screening, clinical vaccination practicals.

Results/Lessons Learned:
200 medics were trained to give shots in an emergency in partnership with other local responders, and many fire departments are having medics immunize kids to keep their skills up to date. By 3rd quarter 2007 Phoenix Fire alone has given 17,000 shots to under immunized kids and kept their medics skilled.