October 23, 2002
The Department of Health met yesterday with top health care
officials and providers from across the state to discuss Hawaii’s
infant immunization rates. This advisory committee meeting, held at
Washington Place, focused on Hawaii’s recent decline in
immunization rates for infants ages 19-35 months, and on possible
strategies for improvement. Hawaii’s infant immunization rates
have declined since 1999.
Health Director Bruce Anderson said, "I am impressed by the level of
commitment from our healthcare community. Both private and public
health agencies have stepped forward today to help improve our infant
immunization rates to better protect Hawaii’s children."
Yesterday’s advisory committee meeting, one of several planned
by the Department of Health, included representation from a wide range
of provider groups, health plans, and community groups, including the
American Academy of Pediatrics, Hawaii Chapter, Aloha Care, Hawaii
Coalition for Health, Hawaii Community Foundation, Hawaii Immunization
Coalition, HMSA, Hawaii Medical Association, Hawaii Nurses Association,
Kaiser Permanente, and other public and private entities ¯- all
committed to improving our childhood immunization rates. This meeting
was the beginning of an ongoing dialogue, to be coordinated by the DOH,
to commit resources to this problem.
"It was a very good meeting," said physician Cynthia Nakasato,
Kaiser Permanente Immunization Coordinator. "We look forward to
collaborating with other partners to continue this process and increase
infant immunization rates."
HMSA Senior Vice President Cliff Cisco also in attendance at
Washington Place, said, "To have a meeting like this with numerous
community leaders together working on the same problem ¯
excellent! HMSA is committed to immunization issues, and specifically
raising infant immunization rates in the state. This is a community
problem that requires community partnerships to get the job done."
The DOH will implement a public education campaign, focusing on
infant immunization, which will kick off in December 2002.
For additional information, please contact the Department of Health,
Hawaii Immunization Program, at 586-8332.
# # #