CDC grant sparks changes for ND vaccination programs

Cutout Photo: ZaldyImg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 (MGN)
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BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota's Department of Health is getting millions from the federal government to increase vaccination rates in the state.

The department received a $2.1 million grant from the CDC to increase pediatric flu shot rates and create a reminder system for other vaccinations. Sixty-two percent of kids in North Dakota got a flu shot last year, far short of the 80 to 90 percent goal. One piece of the plan: 15 competitive contracts to local public health units to give more shots.

“With the contracts to the locals, we're hoping to see more school located vaccination clinics and making flu-vaccines more accessible to people where they're at instead of having people actually have to go somewhere to get their flu vaccination,” said Molly Howell, Immunization Program Manager with NDDoH.

The recall reminder will send text messages to parents to remind them of upcoming vaccines for kids. Howell says the method is proven to work and switching to text messages will bring an immediate response and cost-savings.

The grant will also cover a media campaign and a study to look at vaccination rate disparities in rural and urban communities.