Important Updates from the Immunization Program
CDC Recommendation Regarding Routine Childhood Vaccines During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing rapidly and continues to affect communities across the United States differently. Some of the strategies used to slow the spread of disease in communities include postponing or cancelling non-urgent elective procedures and using telemedicine instead of face-to-face encounters for routine medical visits.
Ensuring the delivery of newborn and well-child care, including childhood immunization, requires different strategies. Healthcare providers in communities affected by COVID-19 are using strategies to separate well visits from sick visits (https://services.aap.org/en/pages/covid-19-clinical-guidance-q-a/). Examples include:
Scheduling well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon.
Separating patients spatially, such as by placing patients with sick visits in different areas of the clinic or another location from patients with well visits.
Collaborating with providers in the community to identify separate locations for holding well visits for children.
Because of personal, practice, or community circumstances related to COVID-19, some providers may not be able to provide well child visits, including provision of immunizations, for all patients in their practice. If a practice can provide only limited well child visits, healthcare providers are encouraged to prioritize newborn care and vaccination of infants and young children (through 24 months of age) when possible. CDC is monitoring the situation and will continue to provide guidance.
For additional guidance and resources related to the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Ohio’s 2019 “HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention” Champion: The Cincinnati Health Department
The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award, given jointly by CDC, American Cancer Society, and the Association of American Cancer Institutes, recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems who are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities.
Ohio’s 2019 “HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention” Champion is the Cincinnati Health Department.
The Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) operates seven Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), one free-standing dental center, one free-standing vision and dental center and 14 school-based health centers. The CHD is a leader in HPV vaccination in Hamilton County and the state of Ohio.
As a grantee under the state’s “Get Vaccinated Ohio” initiative, the CHD has implemented several practice changes to increase HPV vaccination rates within its own health centers. The health centers now hold morning huddles to assess HPV vaccination status of patients scheduled for that day. Health center clinicians recommend the HPV vaccine the same way and on the same day as other adolescent vaccines. The CHD has also implemented reminder/recall strategies for the seven FQHCs and monitored HPV vaccination compliance using letters and phone calls.
Through “Get Vaccinated Ohio” grant funds, CHD nurses worked with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to conduct peer-to-peer Teen Immunization Education Sessions (TIES) for nurses in its health centers and other private practices focused on the importance of HPV vaccination among adolescents. The CHD conducted 28 of these sessions from July 2018-June 2019. During the same time period, the CHD performed 29 Assessment, Feedback, Incentives, and eXchange (AFIX) (now known as Immunization Quality Improvement for Providers, or IQIP) audits in their jurisdiction. As a result of these audits and educational sessions, Hamilton County healthcare providers have been engaged in improving their HPV vaccination rates.
“Get Vaccinated Ohio” has also supported the health department’s efforts to educate the wider community about the importance of HPV vaccine. The CHD provides adolescent vaccine information for families in both English and Spanish at community health fairs. For example, the team created an HPV vaccination flyer listing YouTube videos about adolescent immunizations. The team also promotes HPV vaccination on CHD social media platforms throughout the year.
Thanks to these efforts, the health department’s health centers have achieved an HPV vaccine completion rate of 82 percent. For its role in promoting HPV vaccination within its own health centers and throughout Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Health Department is Ohio’s 2019 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion!
Ohio's 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion: Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby
In 2018, Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby assumed the role as interim Chief for Dayton Children’s Pediatrics in Dayton, Ohio. In this role, she greatly expanded services for the practice’s underserved population. Her office provides healthcare to over 6,200 patients while completing over 10,000 visits per year.
As an attending physician and instructor for the pediatric residency program at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dr. Guerrero-Duby educates pediatric and family practice residents about vaccines. Her engaging, expert knowledge of immunizations provides many “teaching moments” for various physicians, nurses, and families in the community. In both morning and afternoon huddles with nurses and residents, Dr. Guerrero-Duby reviews each patient’s vaccine schedules and identifies any missed vaccination opportunities. Dr. Guerrero-Duby and other practicing physicians then make multiple attempts to educate families on both the risks and benefits of vaccinating and not vaccinating. Often, these conversations help parents feel comfortable choosing to vaccinate.
Patient care is Dr.Guerrero-Duby’s top priority. In addition to her day-to-day busy schedule, Dr.Guerrero-Duby finds time to volunteer at a Reach Out Clinic and has recently become president of the Western Ohio Pediatric Society. She has spent time volunteering in migrant clinics and in medical ministries in Honduras, Kenya, Cuba, Vietnam, and Guatemala. She was also the founder and pediatrician of two free pediatric clinics in Dayton, Ohio from 1991-2000.
Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby’s dedication to serving her communities’ most vulnerable children makes her Ohio’s 2019 Childhood Immunization Champion.