Controlling vaccine-preventable diseases by achieving high childhood vaccination coverage levels is a national priority. However, there are few, if any, comprehensive evaluations of state immunization programs in the United States, and little attention has been given to the importance of vaccination clinic management style and staff motivation.
To evaluate the factors associated with the increase in childhood vaccination coverage levels from 53% in 1988 to 89% in 1994 in Georgia's public health clinics.
A 1994 mail survey obtaining information on clinic vaccination policies and practices and management practices.
All 227 public health clinics in Georgia.
Clinic nurses responsible for vaccination services.
The 1994 clinic-specific coverage level for 21- to 23-month-old children for 4 doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine, 3 doses of polio vaccine, and 1 dose of a measles-containing vaccine as determined by an independent state assessment of clinic coverage levels.
Univariate analysis showed that higher coverage levels were significantly (P<.05) associated with smaller clinic size, higher proportions of clientele enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), being a nonurban clinic, and numerous vaccination practices and policies. Multivariable analysis showed that only 8 of greater than 150 factors remained associated with higher coverage levels, including having no waiting time to be seen, having telephone reminder systems, conducting home visits for defaulters, and restricting WIC vouchers when a child was undervaccinated. Motivational factors related to higher coverage included clinic lead nurses receiving an incentive to raise coverage and lead nurses participating in assessments of clinic coverage levels by state immunization staff.
No single factor is responsible for raising vaccination coverage levels. Efforts to improve coverage should include local assessment to provide feedback on performance and identify appropriate local solutions. Coordinating with WIC, conducting recall and reminder activities, motivating clinic staff, and having staff participate in decisions are important in raising vaccination levels.