Background: Broward County, Florida has a population of over 1.7 million people with the sixth largest Public School System in the nation. Broward County has schools with immunization compliance rates lower than the 90% goal. Historically, Broward County Health Department (BCHD) clinics are overwhelmed prior to school start with children who are in need of back to school immunizations. In order to meet state and national immunization objectives and to avoid the back to school “rush” BCHD utilized the experience gained during H1N1 in integrating a Public Health Preparedness model with Back to School Immunizations.
Setting: Various settings including Public Schools, retail malls, churches, parks, and other community settings.
Population: Children ages 0-21
Project Description: Utilizing an Incident Command Structure, a three phase immunization campaign was completed. The campaign ran from April through August, 2010. Phase I consisted of providing in-school immunizations to sixth graders in schools that had historically low immunization rates and at Kindergarten “round-ups”. Phase II included immunization outreach during the summer months at community events which targeted zip codes that had low immunization rates. Three weeks of immunizations were also provided at a local mall in a zip code that has the highest population density and low immunization rates. During Phase III Points of Dispensing (PODS) were set up at Community sites in close proximity to BCHD clinics. These PODS were held the week prior to and the week of back to school. Staff from all programs at BCHD was utilized during this Phase.
Results/Lessons Learned: 7,585 children received 20,399 vaccines. Utilizing Public Health Preparedness and the Incident Command Structure proved to be an effective strategy in organizing and delivering targeted mass immunizations and helped to alleviate overcrowding in the clinics. This model provided further integration of a culture of preparedness for both the community and BCHD staff.