Olympic Community of Health (OCH) recently brought together partners from across the region to discuss creative strategies to increase well-child and adult/child flu immunization rates. Partners shared current and planned efforts, identified additional distribution strategies, opportunities for community-wide education, and specific community concerns.
Immunization strategies and education already underway:
Drive thru – Jefferson Healthcare is currently offering drive up well-child visits and plans to open a drive-up immunization clinic for both well-child and flu within the next 2 weeks. Partners expressed interest in learning more about the drive-thru model and potentially implementing this strategy with additional partners. Additionally, partners are considering the implementation of flu immunizations as part of drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites.
Flu clinics – Several partners are offering or requiring staff to receive flu immunizations during on-site flu clinics. In addition to staff, many partners are offering on-site, drop-in flu clinics for patients/clients.
Immunization registries – Several primary care partners have implemented flu immunization registries for all patients, gap care closures, and offering immunizations at each appointment. Some behavioral health partners are screening clients and referring.
Community education – Several partners are utilizing EHR systems, websites, and social media to promote immunization campaigns. Additionally, Clallam Health and Human Services is considering promoting immunization campaigns on buses.
Community specific concerns:
Fear of coming into clinic – Many people are still fearful to visit their provider’s office. Historically, school-based clinics have been a more trusted source than typical provider’s offices. With virtual schooling this fall, school-based clinics are not as accessible. Retail pharmacies can immunize children over 3 years.
Timing – Confusion remains about when is the best time to receive flu vaccine. CDC guidance is to get flu vaccine as soon as possible.
Additional strategies and education that would be valuable:
Consistent messaging – Partners identified a need for consistent messaging across the region, across partners and in public spaces. Messaging may be more effective if it promotes immunizations as an act of kindness and speaks to community fears. Additionally, partners identified the need for accessible messaging to those with low literacy, as well as resources in Spanish and Mam.
Increased communication – Partners explored the possibility of direct mailings to high-risk community members and expanding digital and in-person advertisements.
Incentives – Partners explored the possibility of reaching to MCOs to incentivize flu immunizations, similarly to incentives provided for well-child checks.
Bringing vaccines to the public – Partners identified the need to make immunizations more readily accessible and bring immunizations to where people already are. Some identified areas for additional immunization efforts and partnership.
Partnerships – Partners expressed interest in exploring creative partnerships. Some examples included: community paramedics, pharmacies, child-care sites, food banks, shelters, school lunch distribution sites, and COVID-19 testing sites.
Jefferson Healthcare has agreed to present on their drive-thru immunizations and answer questions at the upcoming primary care collaboration call, hospital collaboration call, and Natural Community of Care convenings. Partners interested in this model should plan to attend.
OCH will develop some immunization community education materials for partners to use across the region. Partners can submit their already used materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCH will catalog a list of creative immunization distribution strategies to be shared across the region and host additional forums for connection as needed by partners.
OCH will facilitate connections across partners, as identified and needed.