We are a non-profit organization dedicated to improving vaccination rates for all Iowan’s through education, advocacy, and statewide partnerships.
In the fall of 2019, Iowa Public Health Association led the revitalization of a statewide immunization coalition, named Iowa Immunizes. Iowa Immunizes includes a diverse group of organizations and individuals from across the state, working to protect children and adults by keeping our state’s immunization rates strong, sharing accurate and reliable vaccine information, and promoting science-based vaccine policy.
There are currently twenty-seven official agency/organization Iowa Immunizes coalition members. The coalition meets monthly via zoom. There are four committees: steering, communication, health equity, and legislative engagement. Coalition members are engaged and passionate about the work of the coalition. Members assist in creating social media content, share relevant information with each other, create educational materials, and work together on advocacy efforts. The coalition is also involved in regional and national immunization collaboration. Iowa Immunizes is currently working with regional partners to produce Vaccinate the Heartland, an online celebration on of immunizations occurring on October 15 and includes over 20 speakers such as Senator Chuck Grassley and Chelsea Clinton.
Iowa’s legislative 2020 legislative session was cut short this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there was no shortage of anti-vaccination bills proposed. These bills were similar to bills introduced in states across the country with the intent of weakening the vaccination laws and increasing vaccine hesitancy amongst parents and legislators. Coalition members anticipate even more legislative activity in the upcoming session with the introduction of a covid-19 vaccine. The existence of the coalition in Iowa is key in the coordination of legislative activity and in maintaining our strong vaccination laws. The coalition has also initiated an action network of concerned individuals ready to share their stories. The Advocate Network will consist on a strong and nimble network of vaccination advocates willing to testify at legislative hearings and meet with legislators, increase our social and traditional media presence, and promote vaccine-positive public education.
In less than a year, Iowa Immunizes has established itself as a credible organization in the eyes of state agencies and policymakers. They are fully deserving of the CoA Innovation in Public Health Award.