Concord – The NH Department of Health and Human Services Immunization Program (NHIP) held its 2012 Statewide conference this week in Manchester with almost 400 professionals in attendance. Dr. Paul Offit, a nationally known pediatrician and infectious disease specialist from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, headlined the event with a keynote speech. Dr. Offit is known for his outspoken support of vaccines, with a recent focus on discussing continued research that proves there is no link between vaccines and autism in children.
Dr. Offit applauded New Hampshire’s efforts and success in vaccinating children. “New Hampshire has traditionally held one of the highest, if not the highest, childhood immunization rates in the country,” said Offit. “This is a testament to the New Hampshire Immunization Program, doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses who are able to successfully present the science of vaccines and their importance.”
For several years New Hampshire’s childhood immunization rates have been ranked among the top in the nation. Public Health Director Dr. José Montero presented five New Hampshire medical practices the Excellence in Immunization awards in two categories: (1) Vaccines for Children – Childhood Immunization Initiatives, and (2) Vaccines for Children – Adolescent Immunization Initiatives. Marcella Bobinsky, NH Immunization Section Chief said, “New Hampshire vaccine providers and community programs are committed to reaching excellent standards of care and seeing that New Hampshire children are immunized on time. This group of individuals and organizations reached the highest standards.”
Excellence in Childhood Immunization Initiative awards were given to: Clinic Sans Frontieres (North Stratford), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Concord Pediatrics, and Lilac City Pediatrics (Rochester). In 2011, these practices maintained a childhood immunization rate of at least 90% as well as excelled in 100% of accountability standards identified by the federal VFC program.
NHIP identified medical practices for Excellence in Adolescent Immunization Initiatives. In 2011, these practices maintained an adolescent immunization rate of at least 90%, including 77% vaccination rate for the first dose of the new HPV vaccine. Both maintained 100% of the accountability standards for storing vaccine.
In addition, the Granite State Immunization Partnership, funded by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire presented awards to six organizations in appreciation for their work to provide flu shots to underserved people during the 2011 flu season. Awardees include: Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association; Coos County Family Health Services/Berlin Health Department; Families First of the Greater Seacoast, Harbor Homes, Inc., Health Care for the Homeless Program of Manchester, affiliated with Catholic Medical Center; Indian Stream Health Services and Northwood Home Health & Hospice.
"Bobinsky commended the award winners for working to 'protect NH residents from preventable illnesses through their tireless efforts to vaccinate adults'."