Immunization, Office of (Immunize for Life)


The primary goal of the Office of Immunization is to prevent and control vaccine preventable disease in Rhode Island by maximizing the number of residents who are fully immunized. This is achieved by implementing systems for vaccine purchase and distribution; quality assurance; public and provider education; information dissemination; surveillance; and community collaboration. The Office of Immunization includes a universal pediatric program that provides all recommended vaccines to providers for children birth through 18 years of age , as well as an adult immunization program that currently provides influenza, and pneumococcal and TDap vaccines to providers for individuals 19 years of age and older.

2012 Accomplishments and Milestones

  • 90% immunization coverage rates to protect against vaccine preventable diseases in children under 2 years of age and children entering kindergarten.
  • 100% of RI pediatric providers are reporting vaccine usage to KIDSNET, RI's registry for immunization and other children's preventive services.
  • Ranked highest (74%) in the US for influenza vaccination of pregnant women to prevent flu-related complications in newborns
  • Launched the Ocean State Management of State Supplied Immunizations System (OSMOSSIS) online vaccine ordering system. This system allows vaccine providers the ability to report vaccine inventory and order additional vaccines via the internet. This programmed was designed to help streamline the vaccine reporting process.
  • Increased the percentage of adolescents 13-17 years of age who received 1+Tdap vaccine from 76% to 88 %.
  • Increased the percentage of infants who received a birth dose of hepatitis b vaccine before hospital discharge from 69% to 73%
  • Increased the percentage of children 19-35 months of age who received 4+ doses of PCV vaccine from 82% to 93%.
  • Increased the percentage of adolescents females 13-17 years of age who received 3 + HPV from 73% to 76%.
  • Increased the percentage of children 19-35 months of age who received 3+ doses of Hib vaccine from 87% to 93%.
  • Increased the percentage of adolescents 13-17 years of age who received 1+ MCV from 84% to 89%.
  • Conducted 421 school-located flu vaccination clinics vaccinating 21,494 students!
  • Achieved the highest influenza vaccination coverage rates among children 6 months through 17 years of age in the US at 74%.
  • Increased the percentage of children 19-35 months of age who completed the 4:3:1:3:3:1 (4DTaP, 3 Polio, 1MMR, 3 Hep B, 3 Hib, 1 Varicella) series from 74% to 77 %.

Why is Immunize For Life Important?

Vaccines prevent disease and saves lives. History has proven that vaccines are safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have lists of recommended vaccines. In Rhode Island, federal and state funds combined with contributions from health insurers pay for vaccines.


Rhode Island Awarded for High Immunization Rates

On April 25, 2008, the Department of Health accepted an award from the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The award recognizes the successes of Rhode Island partnerships between public health, health care providers, schools, and parents in maintaining some of the highest childhood immunization rates in the country for over a decade.

Programs within Immunize for Life

Childhood Immunization Program

This program provides free vaccines to healthcare providers for children from birth through 18 years of age. (Healthcare providers can now enroll to provide vaccine.)  Eliminating cost as a barrier to immunization helps to ensure that all kids are vaccinated according to the recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule and protected from 16 serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Rhode Island’s universal vaccine policy, strong partnerships, and sophisticated immunization registry has contributed to our high immunization coverage rates among children. Providers who use state supplied vaccines are also enrolled in KIDSNET, Rhode Island’s registry for immunization and other childhood preventive health services. KIDSNET stores immunization information, alerts providers to immunizations that are due, missing, or invalid for individual children, and is used for quality assurance reports and assessment of vaccination coverage rates by physicians.

The program is supported by two major funding sources. The federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides all recommended vaccines for eligible children, including those uninsured for vaccines, those eligible for Medicaid, and American Indians or Alaska Natives. Health insurance plans provide funding for insured children.

Vaccinate Before You Graduate Program

The Vaccinate Before You Graduate Program is an adolescent immunization "catch-up" program designed to ensure all Rhode Island students have a chance to be fully immunized against vaccine preventable diseases before high school graduation. Many adolescents have not received the full series of vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, simply because some vaccines were not available as part of the routine schedule when they were children. Vaccinate Before You Graduate is offered at most high schools in Rhode Island. The Wellness Company administers vaccinations for students and coordinates all school clinics. Parents or students 18 or older may register online to schedule an appointment for an influenza shot.

Adult Immunization Program

The adult immunization program provides seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccine to adults. (Healthcare providers can now enroll to provide vaccine.) Insured persons 19 or older who live or work in Rhode Island are eligible to receive vaccinations for free at public flu clinics. Participating practices and facilities will bill the insurers for the administration of vaccines using claims information to be provided by the insurers. 

There is a limited amount of federal funding to provide seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations to uninsured adults through a network of community healthcare facilities who provide free vaccinations. If an uninsured Rhode Island resident is able to pay for vaccinations, practices/facilities can charge for the cost of vaccinations.