Pilot project improved adolescent immunization rates

WASHINGTON — A pilot project in North Carolina among 18 health centers increased adolescent immunization coverage rates by 26% in 1 month, according to data presented here this week.

The project was designed to increase age-appropriate immunization rates for the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra, Sanofi-Pasteur) and human papillomavirus vaccine and was conducted through federally qualified health centers. In North Carolina, the average coverage rates for the three vaccines recommended for adolescents was 73.8% compared with the national average of 76%.

“Even at best, we are abysmal in North Carolina at giving the meningococcal conjugate vaccine,” Marti Wolf, RN, MPH, said during a presentation at the 45th Annual National Immunization Conference.

The North Carolina Community Health Center Association set up a competition among 18 community health centers that volunteered to compete during an April 2010 event, which corresponded with the state’s Adolescent Immunization Month.

Eighteen sites competed; one site was a pediatric practice and the others were primary care/family practice sites. The total adolescent population served by these clinics totaled 7,971. Initial immunization coverage rates ranged from 18% to 38% for HPV, 42% to 90% for Tdap, and 5% to 86% for MCV4.

“The data shows that most anyone who tried did make an improvement,” Wolf said.

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