National Infant immunization Week — April 23-30
For Immediate Release: April 27, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
ESSEX JUNCTION – Alder Brook Family Health went live with a new electronic medical record system last year – but before officially retiring the paper-based medical records, staff there will double-check every child’s vaccination status.
“We see it as another opportunity to look at the immunization records,” said Lucy VanHollebeke, RN, a family nurse practitioner. “At every scheduled well child visit we review immunizations, and we also review them during sick visits. If the child is here and the vaccine is not available, their name goes on a list and we schedule them to come back.”
This attention to maintaining up-to-date records has resulted in an 86 percent vaccination rate among the approximately 750 children who are patients at Alder Brook – the highest childhood vaccination rate in Chittenden County.
VanHollebeke said their practice, which includes two physicians and a nurse practitioner, rarely encounters patients or parents who believe vaccines are not needed.
“We are all committed to fully vaccinating patients,” VanHollebeke said. “We try to explain the fallacies and theories about why people don’t get vaccinated, and we refer them to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. We give them resources other than just telling them to support immunizations.”
Vaccines for young children now protect against 14 serious diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Hib (haemophilus influenzae type B), varicella (chickenpox), measles, mumps, rubella, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis A, rotovirus and influenza.
Although most children in Vermont have had most of their vaccinations, just over 60 percent of young children have had all of the doses for all of the vaccines recommended for their age group.
“We see 100 percent immunization rate as an achievable goal,” says VanHollebeke.
Vaccinate for Life is a statewide effort to provide the most accurate information about the importance and safety of vaccines, and to protect both children and adults from vaccine-preventable diseases. If you have questions about vaccinations, ask your health care provider, check the Vermont Department of Health’s website healthvermont.gov our new Facebook page ‘Healthy Vermont Families’, follow us on Twitter, or call our immunization program toll-free at 1-800-640-4374.