By Olwen Menez
The CO-mmunity Corps blog series highlights the incredible work that members of the CO-mmunity Corps (Immunize Colorado’s AmeriCorps VISTA program) are doing across Colorado to build capacity for immunization programs.
On August 3rd, I started my first day as an Immunization Outreach and Education Coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health, the county agency that provides public health services to a large area just east of Denver, Colorado that includes urban, suburban, rural and mountain communities. Its almost 800 square miles is home to close to 600,00 diverse residents. I was placed at the Jefferson County Public Health department by Immunize Colorado to provide a year of national service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
By Kayla Knock and Ellie Dullea
Pharmacies serve as an important community-based access point for vaccinations and have the potential to better serve children by participating in the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. While all 52 states and territories allow pharmacists to vaccinate adults, not all states allow pharmacies to participate in the VFC program. Further, additional barriers such as differing state laws and regulations, retail pharmacy policies and pharmacists’ scope of practice can limit a state’s ability to deliver vaccinations to VFC-eligible children through pharmacies.
By Stephanie Wasserman, MSPH
Executive Director, Immunize Colorado
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused over 2.6 million cases around the world and is growing each day, has shown us—in the most alarming way—the indisputable value of vaccines. And though we are at least a year away from having an effective COVID-19 vaccine, we do need to remember that we already have many available vaccines that are safe and highly effective against dozens of dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases that once ran rampant across the globe. Most of us have never seen the ravages of polio or measles, but these diseases can come roaring back if we do not stay vigilant about maintaining high vaccination rates.
Colorado consistently outperforms other states when it comes to health measures; Colorado’s immunization rates, sadly, are an exception.