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Influenza Immunization Initiative
Influenza and pneumonia are contagious respiratory conditions that contribute to severe illness, massive medical expenses, and significant deaths every year in the United States. Influenza (flu) is caused by myriad strains of influenza viruses, while pneumonia is caused by over 30 different agents including chemicals, viruses, bacteria, fungi, among others (Gooden, 2014). However, the prevalence of these conditions is high among the elderly and, therefore, intervention strategies (such as immunization) should focus more on this population.
In this case study, the influenza immunization rate for the older Hispanic population is lower than for the other River City residents due to a number of factors. First, most elderly Hispanics lacks knowledge and awareness on the importance of being immunized against influenza. Most of these individuals do not comprehend that they are vulnerable to flu, and the vaccine would prevent them from suffering from this condition. Secondly, the lower immunization rate among elderly Hispanics was contributed by personal beliefs. Most elderly Hispanics doubts the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing the disease, while others believe that the vaccine has either adverse side effects, or can cause a disease. Thirdly, some individuals resisted the vaccine due to lack of influence from family, friends and trusted community members, especially those who had ever taken it. Lastly, the situation was contributed by lack of access to the vaccine, since health care facilities (where immunizations were being offered) are far located (U.S National Library of Medicine, 2005).
However, Ellen, the influenza immunization manager, can address this community health problem through the use of various community assets and strengths. For example, Ellen can approach community leaders in order to motivate the elderly Hispanics concerning the importance of taking influenza vaccines. Additionally, Ellen can use the various community meetings to educate residents concerning influenza vaccines (Gooden, 2014). The community leaders can be identified inquiring their names and residence from the residents. In addition, Ellen can use some groups that exist in the Hispanic community, such as the youth groups, and use them to educate, distribute and administer these vaccines to the elderly. These groups can be identified from the community`s record of registered groups. Consecutively, Ellen can use learning institutions, such as schools and churches, to enhance access of this vaccine. Some of these institutions can be identified from the community`s educational offices
U.S National Library of Medicine, (2005). The Causes of Racial and Ethnic Differences in Influenza Vaccination Rates among Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries. Retrieved from, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361154/
Gooden J., (2014). Missed Opportunities: influenza and pneumonia Vaccination in Older Adults. American Lung Association, USA.