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Partner with Your Neighborhood Faith-Based Organizations to Promote Flu Vaccines

August 19, 2022

Vaccine hesitancy is higher for pediatric influenza vaccine than for other routine childhood vaccines. This month, we have two articles in Pediatrics that discuss strategies to improve influenza vaccine uptake.

This week’s article is an Advocacy Case Study, entitled “Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations to Offer Flu Vaccination and Other Preventive Services”, by Dr. Alexandra Corley and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, The First Ladies for Health, and New Jerusalem Baptist Church (10.1542/peds.2022-056193).

The authors describe the partnership between Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and several community churches to promote influenza vaccines in the community, beginning in 2016. Church leaders are considered trusted sources of information for many in the community, and this partnership increased the credibility of the health care providers in the same communities as those churches.

Several elements of this strategy were instrumental to its success:

  • Vaccination events were held on Sundays to coincide with church services.
  • Church leaders spoke from the pulpit about the importance of vaccination, and several church leaders were vaccinated publicly.
  • Both adults and children could be vaccinated at these events

Between 2016 and 2019, the authors expanded to 63 sites, including 46 churches, 2 schools, and 15 community centers.

Of the children who were eligible, 75% were vaccinated at these events! That’s a lot higher than the community rate of 50%.

This effort was so successful, the authors have expanded their services to include optional health screenings for BMI, dental, vision, and hearing.

Read this article to get ideas for how you can partner with faith-based (or other) organizations in your community to build community trust and improve health outcomes.

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