From 1989 to 1991, a measles epidemic severely and disproportionately impacted the children of South Los Angeles, demonstrating their vulnerability to vaccine-preventable disease.
Health Disparities In 1993, South Los Angeles Health Projects began to address the need for improved immunization coverage among our young WIC participants. We already had a long history of responding to health disparities in South Los Angeles by promoting better nutrition and breastfeeding at our WIC centers.
Immunize LA Kids (1999-2007) We formed the Immunize LA Kids Coalition in 1999 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the REACH 2010 Initiative–Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. Read more here>>
Our Mission Immunize LA Kids’s mission was to significantly improve immunization up-to-date rates among Latino and African American children in South Los Angeles. The Immunize LA Kids Coalition linked public and private agencies, providers, and members of the community to develop, implement and support strategies to improve immunization rates.
Encouraging Immunization We have never provided immunizations, neither through our Immunize LA Kids program nor through our other immunization programs. Rather we worked to expand access, raise awareness, and increase the likelihood that our participants would value and seek immunization.
Addressing Local Barriers Through community outreach and education, provider education, collaboration and lasting partnerships, we improved immunization rates among children in South Los Angeles. The coalition identified culturally relevant, evidence- and practice-based interventions to address local barriers to immunization, such as distrust of the medical establishment and vaccines.
The Coalition targeted a broad service area covering more than one million residents in 29 zip codes extending from South Los Angeles to parts of Southeastern Los Angeles.
Medical Provider Intervention Immunize LA Kids adopted the use of the evidence-based AFIX strategy (Assessment, Feedback, Incentive and eXchange). Our Immunization Practices Enhancement Team collaborated with private physicians to strengthen their pediatric immunization practices. We provided ongoing resources and support, which included an annual medical record review, feedback in-services and ongoing follow-up.
Partner clinics that participated in the intervention for three or more years demonstrated increases in the immunization up-to-date rates for the recommended immunization series for two-year-olds in their clinics.
Community Intervention Between 2000 and 2007, Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation/Rescatando Salud, INMED/MotherNet LA, and T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Clinic conducted community outreach and education on behalf of the Coalition.
Staff from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation followed families identified in the community and at our WIC program as behind in their shots in an immunization tracking and follow-up intervention, while staff from Clinica O. Romero and the T.H.E. Clinic tracked children who attended the respective community medical clinics.
Health promoters conducted community outreach, participated in health fairs and distributed culturally appropriate immunization materials. They also conducted media activities.
WIC Immunization Intervention Immunize LA Kids worked closely with our WIC program to promote immunization among children up to five years of age. Staff at the WIC centers participated in assessment, tracking and follow-up of children, focusing on completion of the primary recommended immunization series for children up to two years of age.
Immunization rates of children enrolled in our WIC program increased. In 1998, prior to the advent of Immunize LA Kids, only 63% of children enrolled in WIC were up to date at 24 months with their recommended immunization series. By 2007, 82% of our two-year-olds at WIC were up to date.
Assessment, education, tracking and follow-up of children at our WIC sites has continued with support from the California Department of Public Health Immunization Branch (through 2010) and our WIC program. Learn about current immunization intervention at WIC here>>