The Southeast Health District (SEHD), in rural southeast Georgia, is made up of 16 local county health departments. A quality improvement (QI) project was initiated to address the decrease in the immunization rate of 19–35-month-old children seen in public health departments within the district. Three pilot sites were included in this project: Bulloch County Health Department, Clinch County Health Department, and Pierce County Health Department. These public health clinic sites serve the communities within SEHD with the largest population, the smallest population, and the median population. Although many factors can affect the childhood immunization rate for a community, vaccine shortage, lack of provider access, and affordability of vaccines are not current issues within this public health district. This project focused on the ability of the public health clinic staff to assess the immunization status of clients who use public health clinical services and the ability to provide all Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)–recommended vaccines to these clients when needed.
During the QI project, several strategies for process improvement occurred simultaneously. By the end of the project, each pilot site had seen an improvement in the immunization rate for the 19–35-month-old children seen in its health department. None of the pilot sites reached the goal of 90% coverage during the short time frame of this project, but they all made gradual, documented improvements.
Organization that conducted the QI initiative:
Southeast Health District