Background: The Colorado Adult Immunization Coalition's (CAIC), mission is to decrease vaccine-preventable disease by educating Coloradoans about these diseases and increasing uptake of vaccinations. LIVE was born out of research indicating that Latinos underestimate the potential devastation of influenza. In 2008, LIVE was awarded a poster session at NIC. In 2009, vaccinations given during Year 2 of the project increased by 29%.
Setting: Two schools linked by a school-based health clinic in the Tri-County Public Health Department jurisdiction.
Population: School #1 has 550 students - 92% receive free/reduced lunch and 78% are English Language Learners. School #2 has 600 students - 89% receive free/reduced lunch and 79% are English Language Learners.
Project Description: The team worked with school staff, school-based health clinic (SBHC), and media to educate students, families, and school staff on the importance of annual influenza vaccinations. Two clinics were hosted in each school 4 weeks apart. Staff, students, and family members were given information about influenza and the school clinics. Students were provided vaccinations through the VFC program. Low cost vaccinations were offered to family members. PSAs and interview shows were broadcast on Entravision Colorado targeted toward Spanish speaking Coloradoans.
Results/Lessons Learned: Challenges were identified in reaching underserved school age children and their families. These included literacy, consent form completion, an underestimation of the severity of influenza, confusion that influenza and flu are different, and that influenza is comparable to the common cold. Although vaccinations were entered into the State registry, our clinic staff wasn't able to check first doses prior to 2nd clinics. Sustainability remains a concern, although school staff seemed more receptive in Year 2. New school leadership required education to the project's importance. It will be necessary to better embrace SBHC and school staff, to sustain this project in the future.