In this issue of THE JOURNAL, Hoekstra et al1
demonstrate how 2 public agencies, through innovation and collaboration, were
able to dramatically increase immunization rates among thousands of young
children in the inner city of Chicago, Ill. The Chicago Department of Public
Health contracted with the Chicago Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which has 47 offices that follow 70%
of inner-city families during the first year of an infant's life, to have
WIC staff review the parents' immunization record for each child, to educate
the parents concerning when immunizations were due, and to make referrals
to accessible immunization services, some of which were at the WIC offices.
Parents of children found to be delayed in their immunizations or who did
not bring in their infant's immunization card were provided only 1 month's
supply of WIC food vouchers instead of the usual 3 months' supply that was
given if the child's immunizations were up-to-date. In just 15 months, immunization
rates for thousands of WIC children, which had been stubbornly low for more
than a decade, increased dramatically from 56% to 89%, a stunning accomplishment.
Moreover, the intervention did not result in any measurable negative impact
on WIC program participation.
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