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COSHAR Foundation Enhances National Childhood Immunization Awareness Campaign
Date:8/19/2009

LANHAM, Md., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The COSHAR Foundation has enhanced its national immunization awareness campaign, Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation Immunization Project, by updating its free immunization toolkits with new materials, including updated information about autism and vaccines and information on H1N1 flu. The new toolkits are available now.

Through this campaign, The COSHAR Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to health education, improvement and empowerment with a focus on minority and disadvantaged populations, aims to raise awareness of the importance of timely childhood vaccination and to ultimately increase vaccine compliance rates among under-vaccinated children.

"With nearly a quarter of children in the United States missing life-saving vaccines, it's important that parents and caregivers understand that vaccines are the best defense against many life-threatening childhood diseases," said Sharon Allison-Ottey, M.D., executive director of The COSHAR Foundation. "We urge parents and caregivers to contact their health care providers to confirm whether their child has received the age-appropriate recommended vaccines, as well as to receive advice and information about immunizations."

Since many children in underserved communities remain unvaccinated, this program is designed to empower communities with culturally relevant information about the importance of vaccination, dispel myths and misconceptions often associated with the practice, and drive parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children. The free immunization toolkits include resources, flyers, information, questions and answer documents, scriptural references and recommendations for congregational activities and events focusing on the importance of vaccines. They are distributed through the Foundation's National Health Ministry Network (NHMN) to pastors, church officials and parishioners, as well as any congregation that requests information, to help them educate their congregation and community members about the importance of vaccination.

"The church has become an avenue to address health concerns, and the NHMN has proven to be an effective means of disseminating important vaccination information to parents, grandparents and other caregivers," said Dr. Allison-Ottey.

The campaign has been widely accepted by churches and community organizations. Since launching in April 2008, more than 12,000 toolkits have been distributed and more than 8,200 churches, with every state represented, have hosted local "Immunization Sundays" events, which allow churches and community organizations to present the immunization information in a personalized way to more effectively reach their members.

"The Protecting our Future campaign is now in its second year, and we are proud of the tremendous impact that we have made in communities thus far," said Dr. Allison-Ottey. "We look forward to continuing to spread the message of prevention through vaccination in the upcoming year."

About The COSHAR Foundation

The COSHAR Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to "Impacting the Health of the World, One Community at a Time." The COSHAR Foundation's NHMN includes more than 11,000 churches and 200 community organizations throughout the country and addresses various community health concerns. Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation Immunization Project is sponsored by a grant to the foundation from Wyeth Vaccines. For more information, please contact The COSHAR Foundation at (301) 731-8391 or visit www.cosharfoundation.org.


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SOURCE The COSHAR Foundation
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