Bridging Disparity: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Influenza Vaccination in an American Indian Community

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Abstract

Objectives.

The Whiteriver Service Unit (WRSU) used proven effective methods to conduct an influenza vaccination campaign during the 2002-2003 influenza season to bridge the vaccination gap between American Indians and Alaska Natives and the US population as a whole.

Methods.

In our vaccination program, we used a multidisciplinary approach that included staff and community education, standing orders, vaccination of hospitalized patients, and employee, outpatient, community, and home vaccinations without financial barriers.

Results.

WRSU influenza vaccination coverage rates among persons aged 65 years and older, those aged 50 to 64 years, and those with diabetes were 71.8%, 49.6%, and 70.2%, respectively, during the 2002-2003 influenza season. We administered most vaccinations to persons aged 65 years and older through the outpatient clinics (63.6%) and public health nurses (30.0%). The WRSU employee influenza vaccination rate was 72.8%.

Conclusions.

We achieved influenza vaccination rates in targeted groups of an American Indian population that are comparable to or higher than rates in other US populations. Our system may be a useful model for other facilities attempting to bridge disparity for influenza vaccination.

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