Prior to the formation of Children’s/AISD Student Health Services, AISD focused immunization efforts based on the state’s mandate for District level compliance, which AISD consistently achieved. Immunization rates serve as a sensitive proxy indicator for child access to health services. SHS has raised the bar on this health indicator by looking at the percent of campusesthat meet the state standard, rather than an average across the District. Doing so helps track the immunization rates of neighborhood schools, and helps target health disparities in children.
Indicator: Beyond meeting the state-mandated 95% immunization rate for the District as a whole, each campus in AISD will achieve at least a 95% immunization rate for state-specified immunizations.
AISD, as a district, is fully compliant with Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) immunization requirements. State requirements address only district level compliance. DSHS has regularly selected AISD to participate in an annual validation survey. AISD continues to demonstrate success, as evidenced by the survey results.
As the chart reflects, only 37% of campuses achieved this milestone when data were first tracked. After several years of effort involving changes in management, tracking systems, community collaboration, state and local policy changes, AISD has achieved full immunization for targeted vaccines across all campuses. This reflects an improvement in the health status of children across all neighborhoods and demographic categories in the Austin area, and a reduction in health disparities among children.
Immunization challenges still exist. Students are expected to be fully immunized in August before the beginning of the school year. To accomplish this, students who will need immunizations prior to the coming school year are identified in May. Parents are notified at that time by letter of their student’s immunization needs in order to attend school in August. During the summer, SHS makes phone calls to parents reminding them to vaccinate their child, and participates in AISD’s Back to School Bash, providing free immunizations. SHS continues to provide free clinics through August and September. The above chart reflects the number of students needing immunizations in May and the following August of the new school year. The data exclude students who are newly enrolling in August. A targeted immunization campaign for 6th graders (rising 7th graders) and use of an immunization team that targets campuses with large numbers of students in need have helped to effectively reduce the number of previously enrolled students still needing immunizations in August, when the new school year begins. Process changes begun in 2013 and sustained during the last school year appear to be effective in preparing students for school start-up. In August, 2014 only 1291 students were in need of immunizations, the lowest number ever recorded. No regulatory changes are noted for the new school year.