|Date: Wednesday, May 28, 1997|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: CDC Press Office(404) 639-3286
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|Partnership to Boost Immunizations for Children||Living||in||Public||Housing|
Three federal agencies today announced a first-of-a-kind cooperative pilot program to boost immunization rates among children living in public housing. The new program will be piloted in Chicago, Ill.; Kansas City, Mo.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Little Rock, Ark.
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala, HUD Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, and Corporation for National Service CEO Harris Wofford announced that the four cities will share an $800,000 federal grant to begin the new pilot program.
Public health and public housing officials will work jointly to establish the programs in each city. Efforts will include improving information about immunizations for public housing residents, enlisting residents in designing outreach strategies, and improving access to health services for those in public housing.
"These pilot programs represent the strong spirit of partnership in President Clinton's Childhood Immunization Initiative, which is working to ensure that all children have access to life-saving immunizations," said Secretary Shalala. "These pilot programs will help us develop the right strategies to increase immunization coverage among children living in public housing."
"These programs will not only get youngsters immunized--they will create jobs and training opportunities for adult residents,"
said HUD Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo. "Residents have an important role to play in developing and implementing local strategies to raise immunization rates. These programs are part of the HUD's overall commitment to improve the quality of life in public housing."
Despite record high immunization rates nationally, some communities lag behind in immunization rates and are at greater risk for disease outbreaks. These pilot programs will work to raise parents' and providers' awareness about immunization needs and help families overcome obstacles such as transportation and language barriers that can prevent their children from being vaccinated on time.
"Every child deserves a healthy start in life," said Wofford. "That's one of the five key goals of the recent Presidential Summit. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers have a strong track record in getting things done in immunization and are delighted to put their experience to work in this critical initiative."
Usually, children who have not received their recommended immunizations on time also receive less preventive health care. For example, compared with children whose immunizations are up-to-date, underimmunized children are less likely to have an adequate number of well-child visits to their health care provider. Children who are not up-to-date on their immunizations are also less likely to receive screening for anemia, lead, and tuberculosis.
Research indicates a strong association between low socioeconomic status and underimmunization. Low parental education, transportation difficulties, multiple children in the family, and single-parent families are often associated with underimmunization. These factors related to underimmunization can often be found among families living in public housing.
The Clinton administration's comprehensive Childhood Immunization Initiative aims to increase childhood immunization rates now and put in place a system to sustain high rates into the future. The initiative focuses on building community networks, improving immunization services for needy families in public health clinics, reducing vaccine costs for lower-income and uninsured families, improving systems for monitoring diseases and vaccination rates, and improving vaccines and vaccine use.
Note: HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.hhs.gov.