News Release

December 6, 2002

HDHHS to present TCH pediatrician with immunization excellence award

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) will present Jan Edwin Drutz, director of the Pediatric Continuity Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, with its first Excellence in Immunizations award in a ceremony Monday, December 9, 2002.

Dr. Drutz was selected for this recognition because of the excellent rate of on-time immunization delivery within the Residents’ Primary Care Group Clinic (RPCG), which he oversees.

The clinic’s immunization coverage rate (the percentage of patients who receive immunizations on time or are caught up in a timely manner) is 94 percent and is the highest we have found among local pediatric practices," according to HDHHS Director M. desVignes-Kendrick, MD, MPH. "In a community that struggles to immunize our children on time, before the age of two, it is very rewarding to find a pediatric clinic which consistently meets and exceeds the national immunization standard."

The national goal for immunization coverage for children under two years of age is 90 percent. Houston has consistently ranked at or near the bottom of the National Immunization Survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most recent survey found 73 percent of Houston children up to age 35 months were fully immunized.

HDHHS encourages all pediatricians to utilize several strategies to improve immunization coverage rates:

  • Reduce missed opportunities for immunization by checking immunization records every time a child comes into the office.

  • Employ a reminder recall system when immunizations are due.

  • If the patient is behind schedule, utilize the accelerated "catch-up" schedule.

  • Appropriately provide simultaneous immunizations.

  • Enroll in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) to reduce the cost of immunization for un- and under-insured patients.

  • Participate in the Houston/Harris County Immunization Registry.

The RPCG Clinic employs all the of listed recommendations as it interacts with an economically and socially diverse patient population. "It has been my observation that pediatricians who pay attention to immunizations are also excellent in all other aspects of patient care," added Dr. Kendrick.