Arkansas Department of Health
Flu Vaccination Clinics
The Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, which is supported by contributions from individuals, foundations, community organizations, corporations, and local and state government agencies. All monetary contributions, large and small, are valued and put to good use towards our programs and activities. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law under IRS regulations.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Children, the elderly, health care workers and others prone to getting the flu should get their flu vaccine every year.
For extra safety, people you live with or spend a lot of time with should also get a flu vaccine. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don't have it.
Flu vaccine helps your body fight the flu during the height of the flu season, which is generally December through March.
Flu vaccine is available through your local health unit.
2019-2020 Flu Season
Visiting another country can put you at risk for diseases that may not normally be found in the United States. Getting vaccinated against certain diseases is one of the most effective things you can do to protect your health abroad. Plan to get the travel vaccines you need at least a month before your trip. Most vaccines need to be given ahead of time to give you full protection against a disease. If you need a yellow fever vaccine, plan to travel some distance away from where you live to get it. Only a limited number of clinics have the vaccine. The Arkansas Department of Health has a list of clinics around the state that provide travel vaccines: Click here for the link
Click the image for the full list of clinics
There has been a lot of news lately about measles. There have been over 1100 cases diagnosed nationwide and the number grows daily. The Arkansas Department of Health has developed these informational pieces to help answer many of the questions people have about the disease and the vaccine.
During the 2019 Arkansas Legislative Session, two immunization related bills were passed. HB1278 and HB1786 and are now Act652 and Act676. They are below:
Act 652 - Reps. Gazaway, Lundstrum
Click the image above or the text below for the document
Act 652 - (Subtitle) To amend the definition of "practice of pharmacy" to allow vaccines and immunizations to be given to a person from seven (7) years of age to eighteen (18) years of age under a general written protocol.
Act 676 - Rep. Boyd
Click the image above or the text below for the document
Act 676 - (Subtitle) To require public and private schools to report certain information regarding the number and percentage of students who have exemptions from or have not provided proof of required vaccinations.
ImmunizeAR, with the support of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, developed a friendly Flu Vaccination Challenge among all colleges and universities in Arkansas that wished to participate. 12 institutions participated- over 3000 students reported they received a flu vaccine.
North Arkansas College (Harrison, AR) won the overall challenge for the 2018-19 school year. The institution with the greatest percentage of their undergraduate student population vaccinated is the overall winner.
Pictured L to R Tavonda Brown, Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR Executive Director), Cindy Mayo, Tatum King.
Harding University, Carr College of Nursing (Searcy, AR) won the Innovation Award for the 2018 - 2019 school year. The innovation award is given to the school with the most creative campaign to get the students vaccinated against the flu.
Pictured L to R Lisa Engel, MSN, RN, CNE, Assistant Professor, Carr College of Nursing, , Harding University; Heather Mercer, Executive Director, ImmunizeAR
The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award, given jointly by CDC, American Cancer Society, and the Association of American Cancer Institutes, recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems who are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities. Dr. Floyd Gonzalez, pediatrician in DeQueen is Arkansas' Champion. You can see his full profile on the CDC website here: CDC Website
Pictured LtoR: Josy Garcia, Claudia DelaCruz (HPV Prevention Workgroup Coordinator) Dr. Floyd Gonzalez, Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR Executive Director), Elizabeth SanJuan, Dayanara Ramirez
On December 11, 2018 ImmunizeAR held its Year-End Meeting and Immunization Champion Awards Presentation.
Below are our 2018 Immunization Champion Winners
2018 Outstanding Childhood Immunization Champions
UAMS Dept. of Pediatrics Following Baby Back Home
Pictured L to R Tosha Fougerousse, Carmen Irby, Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR), Stephanie Rieder, and Jennifer Medley
Outstanding Childhood Immunization Champion is given to an individual, organization, or provider who demonstrates exceptional dedication to childhood immunizations. Following Baby Back Home (FBBH) is a home visiting and case management program providing services in 57 of the 75 Arkansas counties for infants discharged from a NICU and their families. The FBBH Home Visitors provide caregivers with the CDC immunization schedule and age appropriate vaccine information statements in English, Spanish and Marshallese. It is evidenced through the data the impact the FBBH Home visitors are making on immunization compliance for one of our state most vulnerable patient population. FBBH has demonstrated and sustained an immunization compliance rate of around 97% for several reporting periods.
2018 HPV Superstar
Pictured L to R Laura Fletcher & Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR)
HPV Superstar is given to an individual, organization, or provider who is dedicated to raising HPV vaccination rates in AR and educating the community about the HPV vaccine. Laura Fletcher serves as an American Cancer Society volunteer; including serving as one of their HPV Champions in Arkansas. She took the time to travel to Little Rock to share her story at the 2018 Immunization Summit and the HPV Summit. She is a three-time Cervical Cancer Survivor and shares information about HPV vaccination as a prevention opportunity when and where ever she can.
2018 Outstanding Efforts in Influenza
Bryant Hornet Health Center
Angela Lasiter, Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR), Amy Smith, Nikki Martin, Anton Duke, MD and Amy Hardin
Outstanding Efforts in Influenza is given to an individual, organization, or provider that demonstrates exceptional dedication to ensuring access to influenza vaccine or provided education to their community members. The Hornet Health Center, a school based health center of Bryant School District, partnering with Arkansas Pediatric Clinic, sent out 10,000 postcards to all the children (PK - 12th grade) reminding them to get their flu shot and to get up to date on all immunizations. They also helped the various schools in the district when the flu hit Saline County early yet the flu shot clinic dates were already set by offering flu shots for students and siblings with little to no notice.
They focused a lot of social media time and spent funds on boosting posts about getting the word out for everyone to get their flu shot and facts/myths of flu shots, did community talks with pre-K parents about the flu shots, and had documents translated in Spanish to help the Spanish speaking community in Bryant understand all of the above. Their coordinator helped kids work thru their fear when parents signed them up for the flu shot and they were pulled from class by her for the shot. The Hornet Health Clinic spends a lot of time and energy educating the Saline County area on the need for flu immunizations every year.
2018 Outstanding Community Partner
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas
Pictured L to R Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR) Patrick O'Sullivan, Randal Hundley, MD
Outstanding Community Partner is given to a community organization that demonstrates exceptional dedication to immunizations and furthering the mission of AIAC through collaboration and partnership. The Blue & You Foundation has been a great community partner to ImmunizeAR by supporting our programs for the past two years. Through the support of the Blue & You Foundation, the Coalition has been able to continue to promote and sponsor statewide immunization programs and raise the public’s awareness about vaccine preventable diseases. The mini-grants funded through the Blue & You Foundation have provided immunization support for 40 organizations throughout the state and B&Y has provided the support to host the Immunization Summit in 2017 & 2018.
2018 Outstanding Adult Immunization Champion
Robert Hopkins, MD
Pictured L to R Heather Mercer (ImmunizeAR) and Dr. Hopkins
Outstanding Adult Immunization Champion is given to an individual, organization, or provider who demonstrates exceptional dedication to protecting adults from vaccine preventable diseases. Dr. Robert Hopkins is an immunization champion in the UAMS Internal Medicine Clinic. He is known for his excellence and knowledge of immunizations. He inspires young practitioners and residents to never forget the importance of preventative health and immunizations. Dr. Hopkins goes above and beyond to reach and educate not only patients but residents on the importance of immunizations. He is tireless in his pursuit of raising awareness and rates of immunizations for Arkansans. He is a current member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Members serve a pivotal role by providing peer review, consultation, advice, and recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Health, who serves as the Director of the National Vaccine Program on matters related to the Program’s responsibilities. He is truly a champion by putting his knowledge and expertise into action and service for the State of Arkansas. We are blessed to have him.
ImmunizeAR has been awarded $37,374 from Blue & You for a Healthier Arkansas to implement an Immunization Institute for Medical Assistants. This will be in-depth immunization training for Medical Assistants in eight locations around the state in 2019. For the full Blue & You Foundation Press Release, click the image below:
Pictured L to R: Jeanie Smith, PharmD; Claudia DelaCruz; Heather Mercer; Patrick O'Sullivan; Jennifer Dillaha, MD; Randal Hundley, MD
WEEKLY FLU REPORT
During the flu season the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) produces a Weekly Influenza Report for clinicians. The report provides information on flu activity in the state. The report also compares influenza like illness (ILI) in Arkansas to activity in the US. ADH receives reports of only a fraction of flu cases. Therefore, it is important to understand that the information in the weekly update is representative of the timing and location of activity, but it does not reflect the overall burden of disease. It is likely that there are many more people actually affected than the report shows. Clinicians and policy makers may find the report helpful in terms of communicating to colleagues and patients about the current status of the flu season.
(Photo L to R) Robert Hopkins Jr., MD, MACP, FAAP, professor and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH, Arkansas Department of Health Director and State Health Officer; Heather Mercer, Executive Director Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition; Jennifer Dillaha, MD, Medical Director Immunizations, Arkansas Department of Health; Jose Romero, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease Section, Arkansas Children's Hospital
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health recognized Dr. Robert Hopkins and Dr. Jose Romero who have recently been appointed to chair separate federal health committees on immunizations. Dr. Hopkins is the chair of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Romero is the chair of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is rare for two doctors from the same state to chair these national committees.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has also recognized Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Romero for their work on behalf of the state and the health of its residents. They are holding letters or recognition from Gov. Hutchinson.
The Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition, with funding from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, is pleased to announce the following organizations have received the 2018 mini-grants.