Background: Increase in vaccine-preventable disease in adolescents and the recent surge in the number of pediatric vaccinations leave many adolescents under vaccinated. Missed opportunities for vaccinations are more common in adolescents due to less frequent and irregular doctor visits. Lack of awareness by parents and missed opportunities by providers adds to the problem. Most families rely on their health care provider or school to alert them to the need for vaccinations and lack awareness of the recommendations. Teens are unlikely to see their physician unless they are sick or need a physical. When teens do visit their physician or pediatrician, barriers to the administration of vaccines keep teens from receiving vaccinations. Those barriers include a focus on: assessment and education for other issues (e.g., alcohol use, accident prevention); illness as reason for visit; administrative issues (e.g., inadequate medical records); lack knowledge of current recommendations; proper storage and administration techniques.
Setting: Partnership with school nurses
Population: Primary focus - adolescents
Project Description: The goal of the Missouri Adolescent Immunization Outreach Initiative was to increase compliance with current immunization schedule for adolescents. The campaign focus was to increase adolescent immunizations by 1) encouraging compliance with the recommended well-adolescent doctor visits, 2) raising awareness of recommended adolescent immunizations, and 3) promoting provider/parent discussion about immunizations. The campaign worked with schools as a primary location for reaching the target audience and disseminating campaign messages. Through teen surveys and focus groups, campaign materials were designed and developed by teens.
Results/Lessons Learned: Adolescents receive their health information from parents, physicians, school nurses and increasingly from web sites. They want to receive health information from a variety of sources. Adolescents will search web sites on a limited basis. The new flyer increased adolescents’ knowledge of adolescent immunizations and intention to discuss immunizations with parents, providers and nurses.