Across the United States, many children missed regular checkups with their healthcare providers during the COVID pandemic. As a result, many children in Santa Clara County (SCC), CA have fallen behind on recommended and required vaccinations since 2020, including vaccines for vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough that are required by California schools. In SCC, those most likely to fall behind on childhood vaccinations include children from low-income families of Latinx/Hispanic ethnicity and African/African Ancestry race, as well as older children. There were also disparities in the distribution of the COVID and influenza vaccines based on age, geographic location, and race/ethnicity. While Santa Clara County has historically benefited from higher vaccination rates than the national and state average, overall vaccination rates have lagged in recent years, and there is reluctance to vaccinate children against COVID among some populations.
In April 2023, JSI launched a multi-media, multilingual immunization campaign to address vaccination rates among children ages 0-14 on behalf of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. The campaign, Vaccines Are Another Part of Growing Up, seeks to normalize routine childhood vaccination, raise awareness of the importance of getting children vaccinated on time, and encourage caregivers to catch their children up if they’re behind on recommended or required vaccinations, including the COVID vaccine. The campaign concept likens vaccination to important, positive childhood milestones, like a child’s first words or first birthday. From April to July 2023, campaign messages in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese were disseminated through a combination of digital and traditional media, including social media, streaming platforms, radio, and outdoor advertising, to reach families and healthcare providers. JSI also conducted outreach at three community events, and worked with a local arts organization, Local Color, to plan and execute a community event and mural installation.
To complement campaign efforts, JSI developed two training curricula for community-based providers, community health workers, and promotoras. Trainings were conducted in May 2023, focused on 1) addressing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation and 2) coaching parents and caregivers to prepare for a pediatric doctor's visit.