The Norwalk Health Department’s Immunization Action Plan (IAP) Program ran another successful campaign to promote three important vaccinations to young people in the Norwalk area. As part of the “Win/Win/Win with the BIG 3” initiative, IAP staff encouraged health care providers to discuss three highly recommended vaccinations with their teenage and pre-teen clients: the anti-cancer human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and two vaccines to prevent meningitis: Meningococcal ACWY and Meningococcal B. Patients who talked to their health care providers in Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton about any of these three vaccines and/or received a dose could enter a drawing to win an iPad, and the offices that submitted the most entries won a free lunch for their staff. The campaign was a Win/Win/Win: win immunity for children and the community, win an iPad, and win lunch for health staff. This year, an 11-year-old Norwalk resident won the iPad after speaking with her health care provider about the HPV and meningitis vaccines. Norwalk Community Health Center in Norwalk and Village Pediatrics in Westport won lunch for their staff members.
This year, the Health Department received over 465 raffle entries, which means that over 465 pre-teens and teens talked to their health care providers about the importance of being vaccinated against HPV and meningococcal disease or received the vaccines themselves. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, causing approximately 35,000 cases of cancer each year. It is the primary cause of cervical cancer and contributes to many types of cancer in both men and women. Meningococcal disease is rare but can be deadly. About 1 to 2 out of every 10 people who get meningococcal disease will die from the infection.
“These three vaccines offer protection from serious illnesses that can lead to cancers, long-term disabilities and even death” explained Pam Bates, BSN, RN, Norwalk IAP Program Coordinator. “It is very important for pre-teens and teens to discuss these vaccines with their health care providers and receive them at the recommended ages for the best protection.”
The Health Department’s IAP Program works with families, health care providers, and the community to ensure that area children and adults receive age-appropriate vaccines. For more information about the Health Department’s services for those seeking vaccines, visit www.norwalkct.org/vaccines.