June 4, 1997 A recent CDC study shows that a successful strategy to achieve high, sustainable vaccination rates among underserved inner-city children is to link screening for vaccination status with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. In Chicago, vaccination coverage rose from 56 to 77 percent for children in sites participating in this program.
The Chicago Department of Public Health assessed the vaccination status of WIC-enrolled children under 2 years of age during their WIC certification visit. Children not up-to-date with their vaccinations were referred to medical providers.
CDC measured age-appropriate vaccination rates and monthly WIC enrollment rates during an 8-month intervention period. They found vaccination rates increased at all sites that used this intervention. In Chicago, 42,500 of the 65,000 infants were enrolled in WIC. At the WIC sites that screened immunization status, more than 98 percent of the children were African-American or Hispanic and 86 percent of the children were enrolled in Medicaid.
At selected sites, of the children not documented to be up-to-date, 91 percent of the parents received a 1-month WIC food voucher during the intervention and asked to return the next month, versus parents of up-to-date children who received 2- or 3-month WIC food vouchers. Screening children's immunization status through WIC programs and the use of voucher incentives increased vaccination coverage and improved enrollment in WIC. This strategy has potential applications in other areas with high WIC participation.
Results were presented last month at the Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
Title: The Impact of WIC/Immunization Linkage in Chicago. Authors: Edward Hoekstra, MD; MS, Yannis Megaloeconomou, MBA; Herminia Guerrero, MBA; Thomasine Johnson-Partlow, LD, RD, MS; Jim Mize; Janice R. Devier, MPA. Affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA; Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL, Catholic Charities, Chicago, IL.
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The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
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