Michigan Meningitis Shot Parties
We all know how dangerous meningococcal meningitis is and understand the importance of vaccinating pre-college adolescents, but how do we spread this urgent message to the 15-17 year olds who need to hear it most? Throw a party! That’s what the VNA of Southeast Michigan has been doing for the past year, and they are finding not only great success but a lot of fun along the way.
Kay Renny, Manager of Community Programs at the VNA in Oak Park in Michigan came up with the idea for Meningitis Shot Parties while collaborating with a mother of a college-bound student who was apprehensive about coming to one of the VNAs scheduled clinics for a shot. The VNA agreed to host a vaccination party at the student’s home if she could find at least 15 other teens also interested in getting the shot. Convenience and comfort drew the students and in July 2003 the VNA Meningitis Shot Parties were born.
Students 15 years old and up are invited to attend the parties. Those under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian’s signature on a consent form. However, the parents or guardians may accompany their teens to the party, if they like!
One or two RNs are required to staff each party, depending on the number of students. During the party the nurses discuss the disease and vaccine and administer the shots. Parents can choose to favor the students to snacks and beverages, along with music, games, and other party-like activities.
Physicians in the Oak Park area have been supportive of the shot parties, due in part to a carefully planned awareness campaign conducted by the VNA. This campaign has been wildly successful for Renny and her colleagues, culminating with a recent interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America!
Meningitis shot parties are a fun, safe way to vaccinate students in an environment where they are comfortable. Developing a Meningitis Shot Party program requires some initial work, but once it’s up and running it is a smooth process and viable source of income for any agency. So get started now. Shot Parties are a great way for a VNA to make a positive contribution to their mission and their bottom line!
Every month, we will shine the spotlight on a member VNA, and tell you about an innovative program they run. Do you have a story you would like to see in the VNAA “Agency Spotlight”? If so send your suggestions to [email protected].