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The COSHAR Foundation Launches National Childhood Immunization Awareness Campaign During National Infant Immunization Week (April 19-26)
Date:4/23/2008

Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation's Immunization Project aims to raise awareness of the importance of timely childhood vaccination, and

increase vaccine compliance rates

CHEVY CHASE, Md., April 23 /PRNewswire/-- The COSHAR Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to health education, improvement and empowerment with a focus on minority and disadvantaged populations; has launched a national immunization awareness campaign, Protecting our Future: The COSHAR Foundation Immunization Project. As part of this campaign, The COSHAR Foundation will utilize its National Health Ministry Network (NHMN), which consists of more than 11,000 churches and 212 community organizations, to raise awareness of the importance of timely childhood vaccination, and to ultimately increase vaccine compliance rates among under-vaccinated children.

The campaign will kick off during National Infant Immunization Week, and is a call-to-action that includes an initiative called "Immunization Sundays," which encourages parents and caregivers to ensure that children are receiving necessary vaccinations as recommended by their healthcare providers. The COSHAR Foundation will launch this initiative on April 25 at the Christian Faith Center in Creedmoor, N.C. by distributing free immunization toolkits to Pastors, church officials and parishioners to help them educate their congregation and community members about the importance of vaccination. The toolkit will be distributed to the NHMN and any congregation that requests information, and includes resources, flyers, information, questions and answer documents, scriptural references and recommendations for congregational activities and events.

"We believe that early vaccination is the best defense against many vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, tuberculosis and rubella," says Sharon Allison-Ottey, M.D., executive director, The COSHAR Foundation. "We urge patients and caregivers to contact their healthcare providers for advice and information about vaccinating their children in order to help protect them from life-threatening diseases."

Despite efforts made to raise awareness about the benefits of routine immunization, many children in underserved communities remain unvaccinated. This program is the first in a series 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 vaccinate their children.

"Immunizations have been proven to prevent life-threatening and life- ending infections in children, and they are available to all children in the United States, even those who lack the ability to pay," says Reverend Mark Wade, a pediatrician, president of Wade Healthcare Systems and member of The COSHAR Foundation's Health Advisory Board. "It is our responsibility and duty as parents, caregivers, child advocates and leaders to insure that all children are given the best care that medicine can offer."

The Christian Faith Center event is the first of several events country- wide that feature educational seminars and entertainment from artists, including Christian performer Roderick Allison, "Rod of God Comedy," and Stellar Award winning, Dove Award nominee and gospel recording artist Pastor William Becton. "I welcome the opportunity to partner in this very worthwhile effort to increase awareness of childhood vaccination," says Roderick Allison. The COSHAR Foundation will host an informative session for pastors in attendance who represent diverse communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland.

"Our children's well-being is entrusted to parents, grandparents and adults in general," said William Becton, pastor, Kingdom Purpose Worship Center, Charlotte, N.C. "The church must address its spiritual needs, but also the health and physical needs of its congregation. Immunization is a building block to preventing many illnesses that may harm our precious children, and as adults and certainly members of the Body of Christ, we must make every effort to spread the message of prevention through vaccination."

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 National Health Ministry (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) 773-4811 or visit http://www.cosharfoundation.org.


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SOURCE The COSHAR Foundation
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