Special Populations and Vaccine Hesitancy Workgroup

Michelle Izumizaki, MPH
Program Manager
Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

WCAAP is participating in the Washington State Department of Health’s Special Populations and Vaccine Hesitancy Workgroup. The workgroup is led by the Center of Public Affairs whose mission is to safeguard the health of the public of Washington State, including immigrant and refugee communities, by preventing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.

Currently in Washington, 30% of children have at least one parent born outside the United States. There has been a growing anti-vaccine or vaccine-hesitant sentiment amongst Russian, Ukrainian, and Somali populations. Some of the objectives of the workgroup are to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate education and outreach, directly address hesitancy and resistance to vaccination, and train healthcare providers in best approaches to support patients from these communities.

The workgroup consists of local health jurisdictions (LHJ) in Spokane, Seattle and King County, Tacoma-Pierce County, Snohomish County, and Clark County. These LHJs have large vaccine hesitant populations. Currently, several LHJs are preparing to convene public forums, and hold key informant interviews with communities of interest.

With the information learned from the key informant interviews and public forums, WCAAP plans to develop a didactic curriculum for pediatric healthcare providers to address effective decision making for families with vaccine hesitancy in Russian and Ukrainian communities.

The Department of Health has immunization information resources in several languages on their website available for downloading or ordering. In future months, the Department of Health plans to survey providers on what information or resources would help to address Vaccine Hesitancy in special populations. WCAAP Developments will provide more information as it becomes available.

If you have any questions about the workgroup, please email Michelle Izumizaki at MIzumizaki@wcaap.org