Among BestStart Washington’s successes
Vax Northwest improves children’s vaccination rates
Vax Northwest is a public/private partnership dedicated to ensuring that parents have access to accurate, reliable information about the benefits and risks of vaccines. BestStart Washington launched Vax Northwest to address the concerns of parents who are uncertain about the value and necessity of immunizing their children. Through public awareness, parent-to-parent support and facilitating pediatrician-to-family dialog, Vax Northwest works to help parents make fully informed decisions. Studies are currently in progress to evaluate the success of these interventions.
CSHEL helps ensure quality early learning
Children in Washington had long benefited from the expertise of state-funded child care health consultants who advised child care workers on how to best provide for the health, safety and early education of the children in their care. When the State Department of Early Learning ended funding for child care health consultants in 2010, BestStart Washington stepped in to help create the Coalition for Safety and Health in Early Learning (CSHEL). In partnership with the professional health care consultants, CSHEL serves as an important resource for the child care community to ensure high quality early learning experiences for Washington children.
Stemming the rise in whooping cough and flu
When a whooping cough epidemic struck in 2011, BestStart Washington initiated a project to educate child care providers about the importance of receiving booster vaccines, recognizing that whooping cough often spreads to children from adults. We then administered those booster shots on site to child care providers. Also, in the response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, BestStart Washington developed educational webinars in both English and Spanish for child care providers.
Peggy King, BSN, MFA, a child care health consultant in King County told us: “Last week when I was at one of my infant sites in Kirkland, the ambulance came for a staff member. She was diagnosed with Pertussis (whooping cough) a month ago, was treated, has been back at work but continues to have problems. (The child care center director) said that if someone could come to her site to provide the vaccine, she was certain that her company could pay for the vaccine and that her staff would want a booster. She said no one goes to the doctor because they don’t get off work until 6:00 p.m. and have their own families to care for. She said for her and her staff it wasn’t that they didn’t understand the importance or value the vaccine, but that it was a matter of time and timing.”
Thanks to BestStart Washington, the entire staff was vaccinated.