Immunizations: Supportive Relationships

Background on Supportive Relationships

girl getting a shot

expandWhat are immunization supportive relationships?

collapseWhat are immunization supportive relationships?

  • Supportive relationships strategies increase social support to improve immunization rates through programs, events or activities involving individuals, organizations and communities.
  • Formal and informal relationships can affect the likelihood that individuals become immunized. Formal relationships may include advice from a health care provider. Informal support may involve talking to friends or family members.
  • These interventions may increase the information individuals have about immunizations [informational support], provide opportunities to share experiences and feelings [emotional support], offer role models [appraisal support] or provide supportive services [tangible support].
  • These different types of support may be provided through involvement with
    • individuals, such as family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors;
    • organizations, such as schools, worksites, health care facilities or faith-based organizations; or
    • communities groups and members, such as advocacy organizations or community leaders.
  • Supportive relationships strategies can:
    • help to build awareness of the importance of immunization in an organization or community;
    • provide information to help identify immunization opportunities in the community;
    • increase the likelihood that patients or clients will use the services offered in the community; and
    • improve individual attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to immunization.

expandHow can I use supportive relationships to improve immunization rates?

collapseHow can I use supportive relationships to improve immunization rates?

  • Supportive relationship interventions may be designed to discuss challenges and advice for immunization. 
  • Supportive relationships may be provided in the form of face-to-face interactions, telephone calls, email or through interactive web-based systems. These interventions may include specific information as part of each call or face-to-face session, or may be more open-ended and responsive to the specific needs of the individual.
  • These strategies may be directed to the individual or the individual’s support system including family, friends or co-workers.
  • Supportive relationships strategies are successful for many reasons:
    • Individuals can ask questions or clarify what they have been told.
    • Those providing support can also provide referrals and resources to assist the individual.
    • Longer-term relationships can help to sustain behavior change over time.

expandWhat are the different strategies to prevent or reduce sexual assault?

collapseWhat are the different strategies to prevent or reduce sexual assault?

  • Increase health care provider support for immunization. For example, provider education can include information about common immunization concerns and barriers to help providers understand their patients’ or clients’ concerns.
  • Increase community support for immunization. For example, radio talk shows can offer the opportunity to call in and have immunization questions answered on the air by experts.
  • Increase peer support for immunization. For example, peer education groups for parents allow peers to discuss immunization for their children.

expandWhat do I need to know to develop supportive relationships strategies?

collapseWhat do I need to know to develop supportive relationships strategies?

  • These strategies can be very successful when the support is tailored to the individual’s needs. In order to provide tailored advice to the individual, the person providing the support has to determine the individual’s characteristics, strengths and challenges.
  • Supportive relationships strategies may include an assessment of immunization status and knowledge as well as a discussion of barriers and benefits and advice for creating and maintaining change over time.
  • Supportive relationship strategies work best when the advice also takes into account the person’s gender, age, language, race or ethnicity, and other cultural factors. For example, parents of young children will have different needs for support than older adults.
  • An individual’s readiness to change suggests that individuals may need different kinds of interventions to help them obtain immunization supports depending on how ready they are to change their behaviors. Supportive relationships may be particularly important when people are ready to become immunized. For example, supportive relationships can help to reinforce these decisions or behaviors that are changing.

expandWho do I work with to create supportive relationships strategies?

collapseWho do I work with to create supportive relationships strategies?

  • To get help with your supportive relationships strategies, you may want to work with the following individuals or groups:
    • civic or community organizations
    • community coalitions
    • schools
    • worksites
    • health departments
    • health care facilities
    • government agencies such as WIC
    • researchers and evaluators
    • senior/independent living facilities
    • faith-based organizations
    • neighborhood organizations and community members
    • media, such as newspaper, billboards, television or radio
    • communications or advertising agencies
    • celebrities and professional athletes
    • policy-makers and community leaders
    • advocacy organizations
    • support groups

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