Immunization Status of Adolescents in Kittitas County: Immunize at Every Opportunity


Impact Statement: 
Following a Pertussis outbreak, a health department worked with families and providers to increase adolescence immunization rates using QI to identify barriers that previously had resulted in undervaccination. In addition, a clinic-specific and county immunization monitoring system was set up to track results.

Emphasis on new and underused childhood immunizations allowed Kittitas County Public Health Department to focus on Tdap, meningococcal, HPV, and influenza vaccines—most of which are administered to adolescents. However, baseline immunization rates for adolescents were not available for Kittitas County. In response, the local health department conducted chart audits at local provider clinics of active patients aged 13–18 years and surveyed local medical providers and parents of high school students (grades 9–12) on barriers to immunizations.

These actions were undertaken in an effort to increase teen immunization rates 10% per antigen by identifying barriers to parents and providers that contributed to undervaccination. A summary report compiling information from the chart audits, parent survey, and provider survey was distributed to local media, health care providers, school superintendents, school nurses, libraries, and gyms. Slides were shown during movie previews that detailed the current immunization rates and promoted upcoming free immunization clinics for children that were hosted by the health department.

Health care providers noted the top three reasons that made it difficult to keep adolescents up-to-date on vaccines as (1) incomplete immunization records for patients, (2) lack of routine health care visits for adolescents, and (3) patients receiving care at multiple facilities. Parents noted (1) uneasiness with newer vaccines, (2) fear of vaccination causing other problems, and (3) lack of understanding on the current recommendations for immunizations.

Following distribution of the summary report, the number of vaccines given to all children in the first three quarters of 2010 was compared to the number of immunizations given during the same time period in 2009. An increase was seen in the number of vaccines administered to young children, though adolescents continued to pose a challenge, likely due to lack of routine health care visits.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Kittitas County Public Health Department

Whitaker, L. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Immunization Status of Adolescents in Kittitas County: Immunize at Every Opportunity. Wed, 10/09/2013 - 13:25. Available at Accessed May 28, 2023.

Submission Status: 
1 user has voted.