October 4, 2011 - During her 15 years as public health administrator at the Garland (Texas) Health Department, Victoria Yeatts, MSN, RN, has forged a partnership with the Garland school system resulting in a student immunization coverage level of 92 percent. For her leadership in ensuring the immunization of students and other efforts to promote vaccination, Yeatts has earned the American Nurses Association’s Immunity Award for September 2011.
In addition to ensuring children receive required vaccinations, such as DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), Yeatts organizes seasonal influenza vaccine clinics for students, families and school staff. At one school district clinic in 2010, Yeatts’ staff administered more than 1,000 doses of flu vaccine.
Yeatts also oversees programs to provide immunizations to residents of all ages in the community. In 2010, the department administered about 30,000 doses of vaccines. As a health educator, Yeatts often speaks to community groups about immunization and was featured on a Texas radio broadcast promoting the Immunize for Healthy Lives® campaign.
ANA grants the national Immunity Award as part of its Bringing Immunity to Every Community project. ANA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are collaborating on the project, which focuses on maximizing nurses’ role in increasing vaccination rates and reducing incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
The project seeks to increase nurses’ knowledge and competency in immunization, encourage nurses to be vaccinated, and position nurses as leading advocates for immunization among peers, patients, and the public.