22844 Vote & Vax: A National Program to Deliver Influenza Vaccinations at Polling Places

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grand Hall
Doug Shenson, MD, MPH, MS , Executive Director, SPARC (Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration)

Background: Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC), a New England-based nonprofit organization, piloted a multi-state “Vote & Vax” program in 2004 and 2006 to deliver influenza vaccinations at polling places on Election Day. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), immunizers were provided small grants to develop Vote & Vax clinics. Evaluations of those projects suggested that agencies might be able to conduct the program with only technical assistance and no funding.  In 2008, SPARC received support from RWJF to expand the program nationwide but without funding to participating agencies.

Setting: Immunization clinics held at or near polling places around the U.S. on Election Day 2008.

Population: Adults and adolescents visiting Vote & Vax clinics – but not necessarily voting.

Project Description: Vote & Vax established collaborations with national organizations committed to promoting disease prevention services, who assisted in publicizing the program amongst their members. The project was coordinated through a Vote & Vax website (www.voteandvax.org) from which immunizers could download a resource guide with information about election regulations and the steps necessary to organize a Vote & Vax clinic. The guide was supplemented by technical assistance. Once agencies submitted election board approval, additional program materials were provided.  Clinics were randomly selected for evaluation of participants.

Results/Lessons Learned: 21,434 persons (including 737 children) received influenza vaccinations at 331 Vote and Vax Clinics in 42 states on Election Day 2008.  Results indicate that the adults immunized at these clinics were more likely to be uninsured when compared with national figures.  Between 30-40% of uninsured and minority participants were regular flu shot recipients, compared with 56% of insured and 58% of white adults, suggesting these clinics reached population groups not likely to be immunized. Vote & Vax is a successful strategy for the delivery of influenza vaccinations and can be implemented without external funding.

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