August 11, 2016
Parents still have the opportunity through the rest of the summer to catch up on their youngsters' recommended childhood immunizations, without even leaving their neighbourhoods.
Prairie North Health Region's (PNHR's) Immunization Van continues its travels in The Battlefords and Meadow Lake, offering vaccinations, and healthy growth and development screening for children under seven (7) years of age.
“It's an opportunity for families to get their children's immunizations up-to-date against diseases including whooping cough (pertussis), measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, meningitis, and pneumococcal pneumonia,” says Danielle Radchenko, PNHR Public Health Nursing Clinical Supervisor.
Several Canadian communities have experienced outbreaks of some of these illnesses in recent years. “We know that immunization is key to keeping our communities protected from preventable childhood illnesses and their complications. PNHR's Public Health Nursing program continues to look for and provide ways to make it easy and achievable for families to have their children up-to-date on their immunizations,” Radchenko says.
PNHR's Immunization Van outreach child health service has been operating in the summers since 2011. This year, the van has been upgraded and is more client-friendly. “It's easier for parents and children to get in and out of the new van. You can stand up in it and it has extra seating capacity for parents and children accessing the service,” Radchenko says.
In The Battlefords, the van goes directly to households where children are behind in their immunizations. “We often go to one family and find other children visiting. This presents the opportunity to follow up with their parents and immunize these children as well. Parents are very grateful for the service. They are happy to come out to the van and the kids think it's a great adventure,” Radchenko states.
With the technology in the van to access child health records, the Immunization Van is a great opportunity to catch up on missed vaccinations.
“If you see the van in your neighbourhood, you can just go up to it and ask the Public Health Nurses (PHNs) staffing it if your children can get their vaccination. The nurse can access the child's immunization record right there and then, to see what vaccinations are needed. In The Battlefords, you can call or text 306-441-1364 to find out where the van will be and make an appointment for it to come to you. The van will be available again in Battleford and North Battleford on August 11, 17, and 25.”
The van and its services have been introduced to Meadow Lake this summer. Its first day in the community was August 8, with its next visit scheduled for August 18th from 10 am – 4 pm. In Meadow Lake, parents can call 306-236-1570 ahead of time or the same day to make sure their child can be seen and get their immunizations.
Allison Lafond, PHN in Meadow Lake, says she and her team members are “very excited to bring the Immunization Van and child health services out into the community to help those who have difficulty accessing our clinics.”
Rhonda Patterson, PHN in North Battleford, adds that she knew how successful the Van outreach initiative would be when a client said she'd had great difficulty getting to a baby clinic and was venting on Facebook. Someone responded urging the parent to contact the Immunization Van and gave the parent the number to text. “When your outreach program advertises itself, we all do better together,” Patterson states.
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