Healthcare is the process of treating and rehabilitating patients to optimal health. In addition, it entails doing what can be done to stop illnesses before they start. Health promotion aims to empower individuals to take charge of their health and make positive changes. The dissemination of accurate information is crucial to achieving this goal. Nurses have an essential role in disseminating this knowledge through health education. Although immunizations for children are an extremely effective method of preventing and controlling the spread of infectious and contagious diseases, thousands of preschool-aged children, especially those from urban African American low-income families, are not receiving the necessary vaccines. This paper discusses immunization as a healthcare problem, its causes and potential impacts, and a hypothetical intervention plan for this problem. Parental health-seeking behavior, financial and nonfinancial impediments to health care, and provider policies that prevent optimal vaccination all affect the rate at which young children get vaccinated.
The percentage of African Americans in the US population is on the rise. Around 47.2 million Americans in 2021 identified as Black (Poteat et al., 2020). This is an increase of 30% from 2000 when 36.3 million persons of African descent resided in the United States. African-Americans have a wide range of cultural and ethnic identities. In 2021, the median age of African Americans was 33, five years younger than the median age of all Americans, which was 38. Around 30% of all Black people were under 20, while 12% were 65 and over (Poteat et al., 2020). In 2021, the overall fertility rate for Black women aged 15 to 44 was 5.8%, which means that 5.8% of women in this age range gave birth in the previous year (Shah et al., 2021). According to Sullivan et al. (2021), by 2021, 56% of all African Americans lived in the South. More than four million African Americans live in Texas, making it the state with the biggest black population (Ojinnaka et al., 2021). According to Nartey et al. (2021), as of December 31, 2019, the vaccination rates for White children were 90.74%; for Asian children, 88.11%; and for Black American children, they were 68.29%.
Reasons Why the Blacks are the Targeted Group
African-American children have lower vaccination rates and coverage than children of other races. African Americans have a long history of healthcare disparities ranging from access to services, affordability of the services, and professional attitudes when handling African Americans (Owen et al., 2020). These reasons have significantly impacted the healthcare outcome for African Americans, leading to their disproportional participation in processes like immunization. For this reason, immunization uptake is lower compared to other races and is worth considering.
Factors Contributing to low immunization and Benefits of a Health Promotion Educational Plan
Childhood mortality and illness due to vaccine-preventable diseases have been dramatically decreased thanks to immunization programs. As a result of this achievement, there has been an increased emphasis on vaccine safety, and most parents and healthcare professionals are no longer at risk of contracting the illnesses that vaccinations prevent. Controversies regarding the safety of vaccines might discourage parents from vaccinating their children, which can slow the spread of illness. Charania et al. (2019) found that parental vaccination views and beliefs were associated with immunization behaviors such as delayed vaccine reception and underimmunization. The controversy over vaccination safety has generated worry even among presently immunizing parents. Vaccination rates for African American youngsters are lower than those of other racial groups (Charania et al., 2019). This coverage gap between black and white children also seems to be expanding.
While the causes for this disparity are many, issues of socioeconomic status and access to medical treatment are often cited. According to a survey on vaccination, most African American parents think vaccinations cause diseases and do not see immunization as a particularly important part of their parenting duties (Charania et al., 2019). Compared to socioeconomic factors, parents’ knowledge and attitude towards vaccination were not as significant in explaining their child’s immunization status. Media coverage analysis reveals that anti-vaccination leaders have disproportionately pushed vaccine skepticism and disinformation toward the African-American population.
The refusal to be vaccinated is a growing problem that threatens public health and slows efforts to eliminate avoidable illnesses (Charania et al., 2019). The gap can only be closed with the use of health promotion measures. Improved maternal education and vaccination rates are two outcomes of a health promotion initiative. Initiatives based on health promotion are essential for a healthy society. They can help improve immunization rates among low-income children by increasing access to existing public programs, facilitating community organization efforts, assisting communities through self-help and mutual-aid initiatives, and supporting national efforts.
A sociogram is a diagram that shows the interpersonal relationships between people in a certain group. It clarifies the dynamics of social interaction amongst members of a certain group. An organization’s social structure may be shown and assessed using a sociogram (Hogan et al., 2021). This can be an effective tool for healthcare professionals to understand the dynamics and internal structures that order immunization among African American children. In such a sociogram, information included includes discrimination, socioeconomic status, level of education, and religion. The health promotion plan featuring the sociogram will feature an exposition on the importance of immunization for children and clear the existing contradicting information on the safety of vaccines. The information gathered and represented above highlights that lack of education on the importance of vaccines is significant concerning the immunization of African American children.
Potential Learning Needs and Health Promotion Goals
The reduced levels of vaccine administration are connected to the choices of the parent to delay the vaccination of their children. This plan aims to increase the knowledge of African American mothers to avail their children of vaccination. Immunizing children against diseases and infections that are preventable by vaccination requires understanding the factors influencing the immunization rate among babies (Olson et al., 2020). A lack of immunization awareness in African American women suggests a need for vaccination education and culturally appropriate communication between parents and health care providers. Thus, education and sensitization on immunization is the greatest need of the population. This will see more children vaccinated and saved from different healthcare complications.
Group’s Current Behaviors and Expectations for this Educational Session
The majority of African American mothers are reluctant to immunize their children. As a consequence, Black American children face difficulties with vaccination. Socioeconomic position, parenting education, having more than one kid in the household, and immunization location are some elements influencing the African American cultural group (Nan et al., 2019). A health promotion session will expand this population’s awareness and encourage healthy vaccination behavior. The strategy anticipates a 15% increase in immunization rates among African American children in one year. Through intensified education and sensitization, this objective is achievable. Strengthening provider-patient relationships to improve information sharing is critical due to inconsistent signals from the medical community that may diminish the perceived value of immunizations.
To improve uptake, communications to parents should address concerns over vaccines causing adverse effects and focus on children’s susceptibility to the illness as well as promoting the belief that the vaccine is effective. Increasing parents’ knowledge of the vaccine schedule and ensuring all healthcare providers recommend vaccination may also increase uptake. When children are not vaccinated in time as recommended, the children miss receiving protection when the vaccine-preventable illness is vulnerable and have more chance of never completing the full dose of the vaccine.
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