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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Pitt County Health Department
State: NC
Date Added: 01/05/2010
Themes: Vaccine Supply and Distribution
Issue Summary: increasing vaccine demand and availability, especially via partnerships with large employers jurisdiction
Description of Issue(s): Locally, we began to see demand for vaccine declining in early December, even as we opened up vaccinations outside of the target groups. We were also concerned that some minority groups in the county (especially those who don't routinely use LHD services) did not have access to affordable vaccine. We also heard from many people that they would not seek out the vaccine unless it was very easily accesible.
Actions taken to address the issue(s): Working through our local Development Commission and Chamber of Commerce, we sent an email to local businesses offering free on-site H1N1 vaccination clinics, beginning in mid-December and lasting through mid-January. We were able to offer the vaccine free at multiple sites through the use of temporary staff brought on earlier in the fall using PHER funds to supplement community vaccine clinics. We saw reaching out to businesses as simply another way to hold community-based clincs (after we had already exhausted demand in schools and daycares in November). We also know through existing partnerships which employers have a large minority staff and were able to target them in order to help access these vulnerable populations.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: We have offered vaccine clinics at the largest employers in the county as well as any smaller employers who were interested. As of today, we have done over 25 site visits and have gotten a great response. Businesses see this as a "service" that they can provide their employees as many already offer seasonal vaccinations on-site. One of the keys to our success was being able to offer staff after-hours for shiftwork situations as well as offering the service at absolutely no cost. Local employers who strictly got vaccine from the LHD and administered themselves via one occupational health nurse had much lower turnout success than our on-site clinics. Though the project has been very successful, early planning was difficult due to uncertainty with current vaccine supply. We had to schedule many clinics while advertising that the clinic was dependent on supply that day.

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