Public Health Launches Multilingual Campaign Addressing Decline in Routine Childhood Vaccination

Parents and doctors in Santa Clara County drive campaign design

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. — A new County of Santa Clara Public Health Department campaign engages community partners, parents, and caregivers to increase childhood vaccination after a decline during the COVID pandemic. The multicultural effort, titled Vaccines are another part of growing up, encourages routine vaccination, addresses hesitancy and misinformation, and reminds people that it is not too late to catch their children up if behind on shots.

The campaign: 

  1. Brings information directly to families at community events April through June, in Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages.
  2. Trains staff from nonprofit organizations and schools on childhood vaccination requirements, counseling parents who may be experiencing vaccine hesitancy, and resources to help connect to care those children who are not up to date on vaccines.
  3. Advertises locations for free or low-cost vaccinations for children, to assist parents and caregivers with access.
  4. Connects local doctors with information on enrolling in programs that focus on routine childhood immunization.

“Whether it’s for COVID, flu, measles, or whooping cough, these vaccines are proven safe and effective, helping kids grow up happy, healthy, and strong,” said Patricia Cerrato, Immunization Program Manager at the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “This investment signals our dedication to achieving health equity, by making sure the families that were most impacted by the pandemic have the information they need to protect their health. Community leaders and parents helped to design this campaign, and the materials, and we are really grateful for their partnership.”   

Public Health and International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) meet with community members at the Vietnamese American Cultural Center to discuss childhood vaccinations, April 2023

Source: Public Health and International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) meet with community members at the Vietnamese American Cultural Center to discuss childhood vaccinations, April 2023


Watch: Video from April event with ICAN in San Jose.

colorful background with drawn out dad character holding up a baby
colorful background with drawn out teenage character playing soccer

 

colorful background with drawn out characters making lunch

Source: Advertisements from County of Santa Clara Public Health Department’s “Vaccines are another part of growing up” campaign


Three steps parents and caregivers should take now: 

  1. Talk to your child’s doctor about what vaccines are required or recommended for school or childcare. See the required and recommended vaccines in California.
  2. Make an appointment to get your child caught up on vaccination by calling their doctor’s office or a clinic near you. If your child does not have a regular doctor or health insurance, a community clinic or the County health system can help. Find a clinic or enroll for health coverage and access care through the County.
  3. Keep a record of your child’s vaccines by asking their doctor or nurse to write down which vaccines they received and dates. Keep these medical records for easy access. You can also access a digital vaccine record through the state.

Similar to state trends, the number of non-COVID childhood vaccinations administered by all medical providers in Santa Clara County decreased in 2020 and 2021.

The most recent California Department of Public Health data show improvements in the reported immunization rates for Santa Clara County for the 2021-2022 school year for kindergartners. However, more students remain overdue for required vaccination than prior to the pandemic, placing them at risk of serious illnesses and of being excluded from attending school. 

Year Santa Clara % with all required vaccinations State % with all required vaccinations Total Santa Clara kindergarteners overdue

2019-2020

96.4 94.3 Approximately 350
2020-2021 96.0 92.8 Approximately 570
2021-2022 96.5 94.0 Approximately 440

Source: CDPH, Kindergarten Immunization Assessment, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Submission of student immunization records to school staff and reporting by school staff of immunization data to CDPH might have been reduced during the pandemic. Incomplete immunization records might have resulted in underestimates of immunization rates.

Older children are more likely to fall behind on vaccination than younger children. Both nationally and in Santa Clara County, older children are less likely to receive their annual flu shot.  

National data, 2022-2023 flu season: 

Age range % vaccinated
6 months - 4 years 62.0
5 years - 12 years 56.1
13 years - 17 years 47.0

Source: CDC, Influenza Vaccination Coverage, Children 6 months through 17 years, United States. Data current through March 18, 2023


Funding for this $1 million immunization outreach campaign comes from a federal government COVID grant, awarded to the County through the state of California.

A campaign designed by the community, for the community: 
All aspects of the campaign, including events, messages, and advertisement colors, are based on feedback from more than 10 meetings with community members, local organizations, doctors, and others who directly work to address racial and health disparities in Santa Clara County. Public Health is working with local partners to reach communities that might experience the greatest barriers in accessing routine childhood vaccinations with materials available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Amharic, and other languages.

For more information about the campaign, visit PartofGrowingUp.org, LonLenKhoeManh.org, DesarrolloSano.org.
 

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