Immunizations in Different Populations

girl getting a shot

One of the Healthy People 2010 goals is to immunize 90% of children with age-appropriate vaccines. However, multiple barriers to immunization exist throughout the country and must be overcome before this goal can be reached. These barriers affect immunization rates and increase the burden of preventable disease in our society (Burns, 2005). It is now evident that there is no single cause of underimmunization in the United States. Underimmunization is due to multiple factors, including deficiencies in the primary health care system, barriers among parents and behaviors by health care providers that fail to optimize immunization delivery (Szilagyi, 1996).

Therefore, before selecting your intervention strategies, you might think about how certain population characteristics may affect the success of your intervention. For example, population subgroups that differ by age, race, ethnicity, income or geography may respond differently to your intervention. The following considerations and strategies reflect “lessons learned” from immunization interventions conducted within various population subgroups.  Despite the increasing accumulation of all types of evidence, knowledge about “how something should be done” remains limited (Rychetnick, 2004).  Therefore, the considerations and strategies provided below may or may not be applicable to all subgroups. As always, it may be useful to work with the priority populations in adapting intervention activities to best fit its needs.

Racial and ethnic minorities

Pregnant women

Parents and their children

Older adults







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