The immunization coordinator for the Tulsa, OK Health Department and a nurse educator at the Fort Hood, TX military base are the latest to win the American Nurses Association's (ANA) Immunity Award for their efforts to raise immunization rates and improve vaccine program efficiency.
Katherine Sebert, BA, RN, coordinator for the Tulsa Area Immunization Coalition, has organized numerous vaccination events in the Tulsa area, including business-sponsored immunization drives and back-to-school clinics.
Sebert also leads a statewide coalition that is developing collaborative arrangements and model practices to increase immunization rates throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, she spearheads a collaborative effort with bordering Kansas to promote continuing education for healthcare professionals on immunization issues.
Rose Herrera, MSN, RN, education nurse at Fort Hood's Thomas Moore Health Clinic, has helped organize immunization efforts and ensure that vaccine records for 16,000 Army soldiers and family members who attend the clinic are captured in electronic health records and are accessible to military officials worldwide.
Herrera educates nursing staff in immunization competencies. She has developed standardized procedures for immunization administration and helps enforce standing immunization orders for dependents of more than 46,000 soldiers at the base.
ANA's national award, part of the Bringing Immunity to Every Community project, coincides with the CDC's National Infant Immunization Week (April 21-28), which seeks to mobilize parents, caregivers, and health care professionals to ensure that infants are protected against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
Bringing Immunity to Every Community is a collaborative project between ANA and CDC to maximize the role of nurses in increasing vaccination rates and reducing incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. The project seeks to increase nurses' knowledge and competency in immunization, encourage nurses to be vaccinated, and position nurses as leading advocates for immunization among peers, patients, and the public.
ANA and CDC promote vaccination programs as among the most effective and cost-efficient ways to prevent disease and death, and to protect entire communities from the spread of infectious diseases.