BPHC Bulletin: Thank You for Helping Kids Catch Up!

bphc health center program bulletin

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to alarming declines in well-child visits and routine immunization rates. This raises the risk for outbreaks and further strain on our nation’s health care system. Last month, in support of National Immunization Awareness Month, HRSA urged health centers and health care providers to “catch-up to get ahead” on childhood immunizations.

THANK YOU to all of the health centers and health care providers who improved access to essential immunization services and increased immunization rates!

Here are some examples of how health centers across the country participated in National Immunization Awareness Month.


Community Health Alliance (Reno, NV) promoted Back-to-School vaccination clinics on Facebook. Thanks to a local partner, pediatric patients were able to take home a new backpack for their first day of school after receiving their required immunizations


To promote vaccinations, Community Health Centers of Pinellas (St. Petersburg, FL) is doing a monthly raffle for patients two years old and under who received all their recommended vaccines on time. They also showcased the ways they are working to keep patients safe and healthy, including having designated well child centers for patients receiving vaccines and physicals.


Throughout August, the Open Door Family Medical Center (Ossining, NY) urged parents and patients to “catch-up to get ahead” with a bilingual messaging campaign, which included:

  • A one-minute video informing parents about the importance of vaccinations.
  • A series of “Back-to-School Vaccines” e-blasts and texts targeting families with school-age children.
  • A series of social media posts, using the graphics provided in the HHS toolkit, the informative video, and a photo of pediatrician Dr. Andrew Swiderski holding a sign (pictured at right).
  • A rotating banner on their website.


Rural Health Services (Clearwater, SC) focused on boosting childhood immunizations by:

  • Creating a Saturday clinic for established patients.
  • Turning acute visits into well child checks when possible.
  • Providing nurse visits for immunizations when needed.
  • Conducting temperature checks and COVID-19 screenings prior to visits.
  • Separating well and sick patients.
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments before patients leave the office.
  • Producing bilingual fliers with friendly photos of staff (such as the one included here) highlighting the “Catch Up to Get Ahead” campaign.


The pediatrics department at Southwest Care Center (Santa Fe, NM) has used a separate site for sick patients since early in the pandemic. This helped to make pediatric patients and their parents feel safer about returning to the office for routine check-ups. In addition, staff members diligently reached out to patients in need of vaccines and check-ups. Their hard work has certainly helped to get patients in for needed care!


The Tampa Family Health Centers (TFHC) Pediatrics Department (Tampa, FL) hosted three “Back-to-School Bash” events on Saturdays for established patients. They carefully planned these with the health and safety of the whole family in mind.

The events occurred during the three weeks leading up to the start of the school year and at multiple locations not typically open on the weekends. TFHC Patient Care Specialists pre-scheduled appointments and remotely completed registration paperwork, minimizing the time patients and their families spent in the waiting area.

Patients received immunizations and physical exams and participated in the Medical Dental Integration program. They also received a free backpack filled with school supplies, scholastic books, and community resources promoting health, wellness, and literacy opportunities. TFHC also provided individually wrapped healthy snacks, bottles of water, and informational materials about TFHC’s dental care, adolescent medicine, behavioral health services, and more.


Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (Yakima, WA) has been encouraging parents and guardians to schedule immunization visits for pediatric patients through radio, direct mail, text reminders, social media, and direct outreach at events. After the visit, the child receives a tote bag with colored pencils, books, notepads, and hand sanitizer. So far, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services has given out about 75 totes!


HealthFirst Family Care Center, Inc. (Fall River, MA) participated in the Catch-Up to Get Ahead campaign by posting information about the campaign and the safety features they implemented. Their goal was to encourage patients to schedule important dental and medical services, including childhood immunizations.