Network Member

Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition

Description

The Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition (ImmunizeAR) was originally formed in 2012 with grant funds from Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2015, ImmunizeAR lost its executive director due to health reasons, and as a result the grant funding to support the staff was also lost. In late 2016, ImmunizeAR received funding from the Blue & You for a Healthier Arkansas foundation and revived its efforts by hiring a new Executive Director and rebooting the coalition. Since then, the coalition became a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has been growing and active in improving access to immunizations, educating providers about immunization best practices, and creating solutions to immunization barriers.

Mission

ImmunizeAR’s mission is to improve vaccination rates for all Arkansans through education, advocacy, and statewide partnerships. Our vision is to vaccinate every eligible Arkansan against vaccine-preventable diseases. The Coalition’s purpose is to identify and remove barriers preventing Arkansans from receiving timely vaccinations recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. The coalition is needed as an oversight function to bridge gaps among disparate efforts to improve rates in Arkansas.

Arkansas has some of the lowest immunization rates in the country for preventable diseases (e.g., HPV), making Arkansans at more risk to acquire vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g., cervical cancer). The rates are low because the cost and complexity to offer immunizations outweigh the benefits for most providers. As a result, Arkansas has a disproportionately low number of providers offering immunizations. ImmunizeAR aims to identify and support innovative solutions to this problem.

Goals

The AIAC’s short-term goal for 2017 is to support the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) recently released 2016-2019 Strategic Map for immunizations and the Natural Wonders Partnership Council Five-Year Strategic Framework by 1) establishing the Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition as an on-going entity and 2) by leading key initiatives identified by a AIAC sub-committee in 2015 called the Childhood Immunization Task Force. In the long-term, the AIAC aims to improve immunization rates to achieve Health People 2020 objectives within Arkansas by being an active and coordinating voice among immunization advocates.