On Wednesday, November 15, the Norwalk Health Department announced that its Immunization Action Plan (IAP) Program ran another successful campaign. Each year in the Summer and Fall, the IAP Program promotes three important vaccinations to young people in the Norwalk area: the anti-cancer human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and two vaccines to prevent meningitis: Meningococcal ACWY and Meningococcal B. As part of the “Win/Win/Win with the BIG 3” initiative, IAP staff encouraged health care providers to discuss these three highly recommended vaccinations with their teenage and preteen clients. Patients who talked to their health care providers in Norwalk, Westport, or Wilton about any of the three vaccines or received a dose could enter a drawing to win an iPad. The medical offices that submitted the most entries won a free lunch for their staff. The campaign is a Win/Win/Win: win immunity for children and the community, win an iPad, and win lunch for health staff! This year, a 16 -year-old Norwalk resident won the iPad after speaking with his health care provider about both of the meningitis vaccines. Norwalk Community Health Center in Norwalk and Bay Street Pediatrics in Westport won lunch for their staff members.
This year, the Health Department received over 1,100 raffle entries, which was more than double the entries received in last year’s campaign. This means that over 1,100 pre-teens and teens talked to their health care providers about the importance of being vaccinated against HPV and meningococcal disease or received the vaccines themselves. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, causing approximately 35,000 cases of cancer each year. It is the primary cause of cervical cancer and contributes to many types of cancer in both men and women. Meningococcal disease is rare but can be deadly. About one to two out of every 10 people who get meningococcal disease will die from the infection.
“These three vaccines are safe, effective and offer protection from serious illnesses that can lead to cancers, long-term disabilities, and even death,” explained Pam Bates, BSN, RN, Norwalk IAP Program Coordinator. “It is very important for pre-teens and teens to discuss these lifesaving vaccines with their health care providers as they offer the best defense when they are given at the recommended ages.”
The Health Department’s IAP Program works with families, health care providers, and the community to ensure that area children and adults receive age-appropriate vaccines. For more information about the Health Department’s services for those seeking vaccines, visit our website here.