Would you like a side of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine with your lunch?
Senior citizens in Lubbock are getting that option, thanks to a collaboration among the Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance, the City of Lubbock Health Department, and Lubbock Meals on Wheels.
The effort is funded by a Local Impact Grant from the Texas Medical Association’s Be Wise – Immunize℠ program.
“We want to help people who are at risk for pneumonia and remove any barriers to them getting vaccinated,” said Janice Stachowiak, MD, a Lubbock internist who is spearheading the event. “Many of these people are home-bound, so it’s hard for them to find transportation for routine medical care.”
This first-of-its-kind project could become a model for other communities that want to host Be Wise shot clinics. Here’s how it works: Meals on Wheels clients who are insured through Medicare or Medicaid receive, with their lunch delivery, an invitation to call the City of Lubbock Health Department to request a vaccination. If a client hasn’t been vaccinated, a volunteer nurse goes to the patient’s home to give the vaccination. The Be Wise grant allows the Alliance, as a member of the South Plains Immunization Network (SPIN), to provide the vaccine and produce promotional materials.
Dr. Stachowiak says the project has the potential to reach about 800 Lubbockites who live in areas of the city where a significant percentage of residents have income levels below the poverty line. The Alliance plans to survey those who are getting the pneumococcal shot to see what other vaccinations they may need.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says many Texans have to be hospitalized each year because of preventable cases of pneumococcal pneumonia. DSHS reports 131 Texans died from the disease in 2017; most deaths occurred in adults aged 50 and older.
You can help your community prevent bacterial pneumonia or other vaccine-preventable diseases by hosting a Be Wise clinic. Use the new TMA Foundation Online Grant Interface to submit a grant application by June 1 for vaccination events in the fall or early 2019. TMA physicians/clinics, medical students, county medical societies, and TMA Alliance chapters are eligible to receive a Be Wise Local Impact Grant of up to $2,500.
Grantees have up to 12 months to use the funds. TMA will accept applications again on Nov. 1 for shot clinics in 2019.
TMA actively works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise –Immunize program. More than 360,000 shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. TMA’s Local Impact Grants have supported these efforts by awarding 105 grants totaling more than $203,000 since 2012.
For help planning your free or low-cost vaccination event, check out the Be Wise — Immunize Quick Start Manual: A Step-by-Step Vaccination Outreach Guide and Be Wise Event Ideas.
Be Wise – Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians, medical students, and the TMA Alliance. It is funded by TMA Foundation in 2019 by the Texas Medical Association Foundation thanks to H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Pfizer Inc., and gifts from physicians and their families.
Be Wise – Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.