Immunization clinics provide more than vaccinations

Community-building events help underserved communities receive health care and social support that they may not have access to otherwise.

Immunization clinics provide more than vaccinations
At Cambia Health Foundation, we recognize that access to vaccines is a critical component of preventive care for people of all ages and races. Unfortunately, vaccine access and uptake can be difficult for some people due to limited transportation, cultural sensitivities, stigma, lack of health care clinics, misinformation and more. To combat these issues and increase access to vaccines, we work in partnership with local health organizations across our four-state footprint.

Cambia Health Foundation partners with the Idaho Immunization Coalition (IIC), a statewide nonprofit fostering community-based engagement on immunization issues. While our initial partnership focused on the COVID-19 vaccine, we’ve continued our support to increase access to other critical vaccines as an important part of life-long health and well-being. IIC works directly with communities, local health districts, school systems, hospitals, and pharmacies to increase access and address vaccine hesitancy.

Their strategy is to meet people where they are, provide facts about vaccines and administer vaccinations to those who are interested. They take many creative approaches to reach their communities, including:
  • partnering with local organizations like Idaho Food Pantry to provide food boxes and ISU College of Pharmacy to provide health screenings and adult vaccinations,
  • providing bilingual interpreters, both volunteers and hired independent contractors, to assist with language barriers at vaccine events,
  • canvassing the community before events to increase turnout.
IIC has organized dozens of immunization clinics in some of the most underserved communities, reaching thousands of people. With the support of Cambia Health Foundation, over 3,000 adults and over 500 children from underserved communities have been immunized.

More than an immunization clinic, IIC creates a sense of family and community at these events which has also led to exciting new partnerships. One example is Centro de Comunidad y Justicia (CCJ), an organization committed to improving economic, educational, and social opportunities for Latinos and low-income immigrants across Idaho. The partnership is leading to increased outreach and education about vaccination clinics, ensures interpreters are available at events and removes access barriers such as flexibility in accommodating work schedules.

IIC continuously evolves to better meet the needs of communities in Idaho. For example, through its Circles of Health and Wholeness program, IIC collaborates with leaders from immigrant and rural communities that are disproportionately uninsured to build relationships and create spaces that foster connection and positive health outcomes.

The Circles of Health and Wholeness is more than vaccination events; educational materials and appropriate preventative health screenings specific to the community being served are offered alongside a free vaccination clinic. The events also combat isolation and loneliness, fostering social connection. IIC is also planning events focused on maternal health to connect mothers, pregnant women and people who just gave birth with resources, support, education and immunizations.

“The Idaho Immunization Coalition advances whole-person health by integrating the physical, social and behavioral aspects of health in its programs,” said Peggy Maguire, president of Cambia Health Foundation. “This approach centers equity to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all people based on their individual needs and circumstances. Together, we are removing barriers to health care—including vaccinations—so that all people have the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible."