Background on Individual Education
What is immunization individual education?
- Individual education strategies work to increase immunization rates by improving knowledge, awareness, attitudes, beliefs, skills and behaviors. These strategies can refer individuals to community resources, provide counseling and support and help increase healthy lifestyle choices.
- Previous work shows it is important to provide information about immunization recommendations and to provide access to opportunities to become immunized.
- Providing information, training and support through individual education can:
- increase knowledge of the risk and seriousness of contracting the disease the vaccine is intended to prevent;
- increase awareness of who should receive immunizations and when they should receive them;
- increase awareness of where to receive immunizations; and
- change attitudes and beliefs about immunization.
How can I use individual education to increase immunization rates?
- Individual education can help individuals find information, resources and services for immunization. For example, individuals may receive counseling or self-help materials, such as newsletters, brochures, fact sheets, videos or posters. Other strategies may provide cues to action rather than specifically increasing knowledge, such as reminder phone calls or postcards.
- Most individual education strategies provide information to individuals. Some of these strategies offer individuals opportunities to ask questions or get clarification, such as through a face-to-face or telephone session with a health educator.
- The benefit of individual education messages is their personal relevance to each individual. This means the messages can be tailored to an individual’s readiness to get information or help. For example, some individuals may not realize they need certain immunizations, and others may want to know where to get immunizations. Immunization messages can also be tailored to an individual’s physical, mental, social, cultural or spiritual circumstances.
- Previous work shows that individual education strategies may work best when combined with strategies to create changes in policies, environments, support or awareness related to sexual assault (see Campaigns and Promotions and Environments and Policies for immunizations).
What are the different strategies to improve immunization rates?
- Individual education on self-management can increase knowledge, skills and self-efficacy or confidence in making health lifestyle choices. Self-management takes individuals through a process of identifying an issue, assessing routines through self-monitoring, making sense of a routine, identifying and setting a goal, contracting a change and developing an action plan to achieve the goal. This action plan may include how to overcome barriers, develop skills to overcome these barriers and create a reward system for positive changes.
- Individual education is used to build skills to improve immunization rates. Skill building strategies provide hands-on opportunities for individuals to learn ways to improve communication with providers and make healthy lifestyle choices.
What do I need to know to develop individual education strategies?
- Individual education strategies can be based on messages for a general audience or for a specific group such as children or older adults. In these cases, the messages may not be specific to each individual. However, the messages can be created for preferences of different groups, such as language, cultural traditions or social activities.
- Individual education should be culturally sensitive, involve family and friends when possible and incorporate the individual’s readiness to change his or her behavior. The content of the message may focus on a wide variety of topics, such as immunization recommendations, immunization opportunities,barriers to being immunized or communication skill-building exercises.
- Individual education strategies are also affected by the individual’s access to immunization opportunities.
- These strategies are also influenced by the media and broader social and cultural norms in the community, such as trust in health care providers.
- Individual education strategies can be delivered at one time or at regular intervals, such as weekly, monthly or quarterly. The intervention information can appear in the form of print, telephone, video, audio or electronic messages.
Who do I work with to create individual education strategies?
- To get help with your individual education strategies, you may want to work with some of the following individuals or groups:
- health departments, including health educators or providers
- health care facilities, including providers in clinics, hospitals or other health care organizations
- schools, including teachers, coaches, nurses, counselors or administrators
- civic organizations or community organizations such as Head Start, Boy/Girl Scouts, YMCA or 4H Club
- worksites, including wellness trainers and managers
- senior independent living facilities
- faith-based organizations
- neighborhood organizations and community members
- To promote your individual education messages, it is helpful to work with some of the following individuals or groups:
- communications or advertising agencies
- celebrities or professional athletes
- advocacy organizations
- elected officials, policy-makers, decision-makers or community leaders
- government agencies
- health care facilities, such as pharmacies, doctor’s offices or health departments
- metropolitan centers
- media, including newspaper, billboards, television, radio
- researchers and evaluators
- advertising agencies