Background: The highly vocal anti-vaccination lobby is spreading its message throughout the country. Several notorious pediatricians have joined their ranks, legitimizing these dangerous claims. People are naturally trying to protect their children, yet are unsure whether or not to vaccinate. They need to be reassured and educated. LRRC, a combination Social Services and Health Center, believes that physicians generally lack time, resources, and skills to proactively and adequately educate their patients in an unintimidating manner. Social services agencies are optimally suited for educational outreach.
Setting: Public outreach via phone calls and surveys.
Population: Ethnically diverse, extremely low to average income, families of 0-18 year olds, in Lakewood and Ocean County, NJ and general public.
Project Description: LRRC has devised a unique outreach approach to provide critically needed education to the public on the importance of immunizations. LRRC obtains immunization compliance status via surveys and phone calls to clients and patients. Responses are then checked against the NJIIS. LRRC’s physician trained Case Mangers call and engages caregivers, gauge their feelings towards immunizations, and identify any compliance barriers. Staff deals with typical questions and concerns about side effects and empowers people by directing them to scientific materials available online, promoting benefits and dispelling myths of vaccination risks. We direct specific medical questions to our Nursing Hotline. We help resolve issues, such as lack of healthcare coverage, that contribute to non-compliance. We also disseminate vaccination information via public events. LRRC created a custom data base to track information. LRRC has obtained data on 7,535 children; 3,645 families.
Results/Lessons Learned: : Many families have complied or agreed to comply with CDC Vaccination schedules as a result of our efforts. LRRC’s replicable educational model is effective for improving compliance rates and should be promoted nationwide.