The National Influenza Vaccine Summit announced the recipients of the National Influenza Vaccine Summit Immunization Excellence Awards. Each year, these awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions toward improved influenza vaccination rates within their communities. The awards will be presented at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Conference on March 30, 2009, and during the National Influenza Vaccine Summit May 12–13, 2009, in Dallas, Texas.
Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration—SPARC, an RWJF grantee—will be honored with the Overall 2008–09 Season Activity Award. SPARC established a nationwide program, Vote & Vax, that encourages and assists public health providers in offering influenza vaccinations at polling places on and around Election Day. This year the innovative campaign, funded by RWJF, involved numerous national and local collaborators, including more than 130 public health agencies. Overcoming many implementation challenges, the program facilitated the delivery of nearly 21,500 influenza vaccinations at more than 330 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
As a result of Vote & Vax, more people will be protected against the flu including crucial at-risk populations. Two-thirds of participants were in CDC-defined priority groups and almost half (48%) of those immunized had not received an influenza vaccination the previous year or would not have received a vaccination without the program. These at-risk groups of people were able to get their flu shot because the vaccination was offered in a manner that is both convenient and targeted.
About the National Influenza Vaccine Summit
Started in 2000, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit is co-sponsored by the American Medical Association and the CDC. The summit is an action-oriented entity with over 400 members who represent over 100 public and private organizations with an interest in addressing and resolving influenza and influenza vaccine issues. Summit participants include health care professionals, public health professionals, vaccine manufacturers and distributors, consumers, and others interested in preventing vaccine-preventable diseases.
SPARC (Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration) is an award-winning nonprofit health organization dedicated to developing innovative approaches to the delivery of critical disease prevention services. The organization is based in New England and has received funding from major national and regional philanthropic organizations, as well as state and federal health care agencies. With community partners, SPARC launched its first Vote & Vax clinics in 1997, and has been instrumental in the subsequent national expansion of this initiative. SPARC has been recognized in testimony before the U.S. Senate and as a model program cited by the CDC.