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Partnering for Pediatric Vaccinations

Jun 17, 2022 | Amiris Roberson

Florida Department of Health in Manatee County has been leading the way in COVID-19 response since the beginning of the pandemic. At every turn, the agency shifted priorities and followed local data to ensure the most appropriate community responses. From launching mass vaccination and testing sites in the early days of the pandemic, to focusing on population specific outreach efforts, DOH-Manatee has pivoted at every turn.

With the announcement of the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer 5-11 Pediatric Vaccine last fall, the agency sprang into action preparing for the rollout. We began by thinking outside the box to reach parents during this critical decision-making time for families. This resulted in an initial community education event to talk to parents about the vaccine and any questions or concerns they had. We utilized our community partners, who we have heavily relied on, to provide incentives and prepare goody bags in preparation for vaccine launch.

One of our key partners, is a local Science Museum, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. They have been supporting our COVID-19 efforts in a variety of ways, including providing free admission passes to the museum for all children upon getting vaccinated. In addition, they hosted a safe outdoor Halloween Trick or Treat event and invited us to attend. We provided brochures, hand sanitizer, stickers, masks, and even a little bit of candy, since it was a Halloween event after all. We also provided over 600 parents with a $10.00 coupon for groceries! Bringing public health out into the community and reaching parents in their element was a critical outreach effort. Many families reported feeling more comfortable seeking vaccine services after they were able to ask questions and talk face to face with a trusted source.

During the holiday season of 2021, we launched our pediatric vaccine clinic days and provided a red-carpet experience for each child, as we celebrate every public health superhero. To eliminate barriers to access, we offered this service with no appointment necessary during the days when schools were not in session. Children received a goody bag with coupons, coloring pages, stickers, and a vaccine card holder, as well as got to have their photo taken with our Manatee mascot. Meeting the community where they are and eliminating barriers to access are critical components in working together to ensure every family has access to tools to help continue the fight against COVID-19. Children were able to get back to all their favorite activities with added protection of the vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

Florida Department of Health- Manatee County participated in NACCHO’s Equipping Local Health Departments to Address Vaccine Hesitancy Project. This project placed one consultant staff member at the health department to aid in identifying vaccine hesitant communities and working with the communities to address their hesitancies and increase vaccine uptake.

About Amiris Roberson

Program Analyst, Immunization at NACCHO

More posts by Amiris Roberson

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