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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
State: IL
Date Added: 11/11/2009
Themes: Communications - Priority Groups,Vaccine Planning and Administration
Issue Summary: Mass vaccination in Champaign County, IL
Description of Issue(s): Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) received the first 13,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine in Champaign County on October 15, 2009.
Actions taken to address the issue(s): To ensure that we reached the priority groups we immediately provided vaccine to the three large private clinics, the Federally-qualified Health Center, a private OB/GYN practice and University of Illinois' McKinley Health Center. They were all charged with reaching their healthcare worker employees, their pediatric clients at highest risk, pregnant women, and families with infants under 6 months of age. The physicians know which of their clients have asthma and other underlying health conditions and can contact the parents of these children directly.
CUPHD conducted 5 days of vaccinations for preschool children 6 months to 5 years old. Parents of these children were encouraged to bring their other children with asthma, etc., into the clinics as well. We vaccinated over 4,500 in the 5 days of pre-school clinics.
To ensure that the most at-risk clients were reached CUPHD vaccinated children at SWANN Special Care Center, a residential facility for severely handicapped children. We also contacted The Illinois Division of Specialized Care for Children. We gave their case managers the ability to contact all of their clients for priority appointments. The parent of a disabled child was allowed to call CUPHD upon arrival and a nurse went to the car to provide the vaccination to the child. This was done to prevent the child from coming into a clinical setting where they may be exposed to flu or other viruses. Many of these children had tracheotomies and severe muscular and/or neurological disorders.
The priority group that we are currently working on is children in grades K-12. We are conducting school-based clinics to ensure that the limited supply of vaccine reaches children first. By providing the free vaccinations in the schools we are ensuring that all children whose parents wish for them to be vaccinated will be. This will happen BEFORE we move onto adults.
The additional benefit of vaccinating children first, and the parents of those children who bring them into the clinics, is that when we open the clinics for high-risk adults, the clinics will be relatively free of children. In our community, children have the most illness.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: CUPHD contemplated the mass clinics for all priority groups, but decided that this strategy was ill-conceived as it created a competition for the vaccine. Parents who could take off of work were more likely to get their children vaccinated than those without paid sick days or who were not allowed to take time off. Additionally this strategy relies on the honesty of those persons presenting for vaccine. Health department employees have no way of knowing if the persons stating that they had asthma or other underlying medical conditions were being truthful.

CUPHD has been cultivating relationships with the physicians, clinics, special care facilities, and case managers as part of our overall pandemic prevention plan. When H1N1 first emerged in April, we immediately contacted these facilities and have been in constant contact with them since. This has made it very easy for us to provide education, support, supplies, and vaccination to those at highest risk for complications of H1N1.

CUPHD created "Germ Busters" . The Germ Busters have been visting schools and day care centers through out the summer and fall. The Germ Busters talk about vaccination as part of their program. In October when CUPHD sent the consent forms home for every child in Champaign County, we attached a Germ Buster postcard. When we set-up the vaccine clinics in the schools, staff wear Germ Buster shirts, play the Germ Buster DVD, and pass out Germ Buster merchandise. This campaign has been very popular.

CUPHD created a social marketing campaign, "Community Immunity: Do Your Part!" This campaign uses pictures of adults and children showing their vaccination band-aid to encourage vaccination as part of maintaining a healthy community.

The CDC website has been very helpful, as have the NACCHO updates and e.newsletters. We appreciate them and share them with all of our community partners. Providing this information on a regular basis as the pandemic began to unfold helped our health department to build rapport with our community agencies. It has helped ensure buy-in on our community pandemic plan.

Please check our website at . We have made everything available free to all other health departments/hospitals/clinics/schools, etc. We have made our booklets, video, fliers, billboards, etc. easy to duplicate. We will provide all materials in a format that will allow others to customize it for their facility.

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