PROTECT Researchers at UPR receive grant to promote flu vaccination for pregnant women in Puerto Rico

PROTECT Co-Director and Core C Leader, José F. Cordero, MD, MPH, and PROTECT Core C Study Director, Liza Anzalota, MD, MPH, have received a grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health to promote influenza vaccination among pregnant women in Puerto Rico during the 2013-2014 influenza season. Pregnant women and their fetuses are at increased risk for serious health complications and death from flu, so immunization is critical during pregnancy. 

Dr. Anzalota del Toro, the Principal Investigator, and Dr. Cordero, the Co-Principal Investigator, are collaborating with Emma Fernández Repollet, PhD, Director of the UPR Center for Collaborative Research in Health Disparities (and member of the PROTECT Advisory Committee.)

The demonstration project, entitled “Immunization in Pregnancy: Protecting mothers and babies in Puerto Rico” (award G12-MD007600) was based on preliminary data gathered by the PROTECT research team that indicated low immunization rates among pregnant women in the Northern Karst region of Puerto Rico.

The project will promote influenza vaccination among pregnant women in Puerto Rico at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) affiliated with PROTECT.  A combination of evidence-based approaches to increase vaccination coverage will be used, including provider assessment and feedback, a reminder and recall system, and a mass media campaign to promote influenza vaccination

“This demonstration project will allow us to enhance the experience on how to increase influenza vaccination among pregnant women in Puerto Rico, which may be helpful to other Hispanic communities in the United States” said Dr. Cordero.  “The collaboration with the FQHCs affiliated with the PROTECT Center was a key aspect in the development of this initiative.” added Dr. Anzalota.

To view the UPR Center for Collaborative Research in Health Disparities Press Release, click here.