March 6, 2007
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
CDC Recognizes Newark for
Improvement in Early Childhood Vaccinations
NEWARK — “Project Vaccinate,” a collaborative program administered by the Newark Department of Health and Human Services and directed by an associate professor at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, has been recognized by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for achieving the greatest improvement in vaccination rates among for children between the ages of 19 and 35 months who live in urban areas.
Over a three-year period, Project Vaccinate programs led to a 30 percent increase in immunizations among pre-school children in Newark. On behalf of the city, NDHHS representatives will accept the award during the CDC’s 41st annual National Immunization Conference today in Kansas City, Mo.
“This is absolutely incredible,” said Dr. Peter N. Wenger, associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health/Pediatrics at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and the medical director of Project Vaccinate since its inception in 2002. “I hope people understand the magnitude of this achievement. For years, young children in Newark suffered significantly lower immunization coverage rates compared to their peers in the rest of New Jersey, as well as the United States, putting them at greater risk for serious, life-threatening diseases due to vaccine-preventable infections. For the first time, immunization coverage rates in Newark’s preschool children population are not significantly different than others throughout the state. But the work is not done; we must continue to maintain these gains and make even greater efforts to reach every child in our community.”
The CDC award recognizes NDHHS for the several innovative interventions the department and its community partners developed and implemented to reach this remarkable public health achievement. Project Vaccinate is a N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services-funded program within the Immunization Program at the NDHHS that is dedicated to the elevation and maintenance of timely, age-appropriate immunizations for pre-school children in Newark. The NDHHS efforts involved the series of early childhood vaccines including diphtheria, typhus and pertussis, polio, measles, Hib disease (the bacterium that can cause meningitis) and hepatitis B. The increase in vaccination rates were measured by the CDC’s National Immunization Survey over the period from 2002 to 2005.
To request an interview with Dr. Wenger, please contact Jerry Carey, University News Service, at (856) 566?6171 or (973) 972?5000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.