Department of Health Adult Immunization Program Receives National Award
Today (September 11), the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) adult influenza program, Immunize For Life, is receiving the 2008 Vision Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations (ASTHO). This national award recognizes outstanding state health department programs and initiatives that use a creative approach to address public health needs or problems.
"We are extremely proud of what the Immunize For Life program has accomplished in just one year," said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. "By working with our provider and community partners, this program has addressed the challenges of increasing vaccine cost and adequate and consistent vaccine supply."
During the 2007/2008 influenza season, the Immunize For Life program distributed 248,000 doses of vaccine to 412 participating provider sites including private practices, hospitals, mass immunizers, urgent care centers, home care agencies and long term care facilities. For the 2008/2009 flu season, the number of participating provider sites has increased by 5 percent.
"Every year, 40,000 people in the United States die from flu and its complications," said Gifford. "Since the inception of this program, Rhode Island has increased the percentage of residents who receive flu vaccinations and we now rank number one in the country for influenza vaccination coverage rates among adults age 65 and older. By continuing this trend of increased vaccination rates in adults, we hope to see a decrease in illnesses and deaths caused by influenza."
Immunize For Life is a model program for the nation. Vaccine is provided to adult healthcare providers for adult patients ages 19 and older at no cost to the provider. Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurers contribute to the cost of the program and ensure that their beneficiaries get this important vaccine every year.
Source: Rhode Island Government
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