Immunization, Office of

Mission

The primary goal of the Office of Immunization is to prevent and control vaccine preventable disease in Rhode Island by maximizing the number of residents who are fully immunized. This is achieved by implementing systems for vaccine purchase and distribution, quality assurance, public and provider education, information dissemination, surveillance, and community collaboration.

2013 Accomplishments and Milestones

  • Increased the percentage of adolescents 13-17 years of age who received 1+Tdap vaccine from 88% in 2011 to 96% in 2013 (highest in the U.S.).
  • Increased the percentage of adolescent males 13-17 years of age who received 1+ HPV vaccine from 25% in 2011 to 69% in 2013 (highest in the U.S.).
  • Increased the percentage of adolescents 13-17 years of age who received 1+ MCV from 89% in 2011 to 92% in 2013.
  • Increased the percentage of children 19-35 months of age who received 4+ DTaP vaccine from 85% in 2011 to 92% in 2013.
  • Increased the percentage of children 19-35 months of age who received 2+ RV vaccine from 76% in 2011 to 84% in 2013 (highest in the U.S.).
  • Achieved the highest influenza vaccination coverage among children 6 months through 17 years of age in the U.S. at 75% during the 2013-2014 influenza season.
  • Achieved the highest coverage in the U.S. for children 19-35 months of age who completed the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 (4DTaP, 3 Polio, 1MMR, 3 HepB, 3 Hib, 1 Varicella, 4 PCV) series at 82% in 2013.
  • 100% of RI pediatric providers are reporting vaccine usage to KIDSNET, RI's registry for immunization and other children's preventive services.
  • Launched the Ocean State Management of State Supplied Immunizations System (OSMOSSIS) online vaccine ordering system. This system allows vaccine providers the ability to report vaccine inventory and order additional vaccines via the internet. This programmed was designed to help streamline the vaccine reporting process.

Why is immunization important?

Vaccines prevent disease and saves lives. They are safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have lists of recommended vaccines. In Rhode Island, federal and state funds combined with contributions from health insurers pay for vaccines.

Programs within the Office of Immunization

Childhood Immunization Program

This program provides free vaccines to healthcare providers for children from birth through 18 years of age. (Healthcare providers can now enroll to provide vaccine.) Eliminating cost as a barrier to immunization helps to ensure that all kids are vaccinated according to the recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule and protected from 16 serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Rhode Island’s universal vaccine policy, strong partnerships, and sophisticated immunization registry has contributed to our high immunization coverage rates among children. Providers who use state supplied vaccines are also enrolled in KIDSNET, Rhode Island’s registry for immunization and other childhood preventive health services. KIDSNET stores immunization information, alerts providers to immunizations that are due, missing, or invalid for individual children, and is used for quality assurance reports and assessment of vaccination coverage rates by physicians.

The program is supported by two major funding sources. The federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides all recommended vaccines for eligible children, including those uninsured for vaccines, those eligible for Medicaid, and American Indians or Alaska Natives. Health insurance plans provide funding for insured children.

Vaccinate Before You Graduate Program

The Vaccinate Before You Graduate Program is an adolescent immunization "catch-up" program designed to ensure all Rhode Island students have a chance to be fully immunized against vaccine preventable diseases before high school graduation. Many adolescents have not received the full series of vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, simply because some vaccines were not available as part of the routine schedule when they were children. Vaccinate Before You Graduate is offered at most high schools in Rhode Island. The Wellness Company administers vaccinations for students and coordinates all school clinics. Parents or students 18 or older may register online to schedule an appointment for an influenza shot.

Adult Immunization Program

This program provides vaccine to healthcare providers for all immunizations recommended for adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Adult, Rhode Island residents with insurance, or adults with insurance through a Rhode Island employer, are eligible for vaccine through their healthcare providers. Adults who are uninsured should be referred to Patient Assistance Program sites.

Perinatal Hepatitis Prevention Program

This program offers screening, referral, and case management services for pregnant women and new mothers infected with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus. It is a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Health, Women and Infant's Hospital, Hasbro Children's Hospital, and the VNA of Care New England.

The goal of the program is to prevent perinatal hepatitis infection in infants. Pregnant women and new mothers receive a home visit from a nurse case manager at no cost to the family. The visit includes education about hepatitis, breastfeeding, nutrition and information about community resources. In addition, care is coordinated for women and their infants to ensure that infants born to women with hepatitis B virus complete the hepatitis B vaccination series and recommended testing for immunity. Infants born to women with hepatitis C virus are followed to ensure recommended testing for hepatitis C virus is completed.