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Carlson named Immunization Champion for Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD, Il. - Douglas Carlson, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, has been named an Immunization Champion for Illinois. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health Immunization Program presented the award to acknowledge outstanding efforts to ensure immunization access in Illinois' communities.

Carlson was recognized for making a significant contribution to public health in Illinois through his work in childhood immunizations and COVID vaccination of children and their families. His efforts have helped improve the health of the community as he continues to advocate to reduce barriers to immunization, including providing vaccines to children who qualify for Vaccines for Children and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) vaccines. He also made multiple appearances on local news outlets to explain the effects of COVID-19 in children and the safety, efficacy and benefits of immunization. 

Carlson and the SIU Department of Pediatrics administered more than 20,250 vaccines in the last year, an average of 1,688 a month. While Dr. Carlson served as the interim chief medical officer at SIU School of Medicine, more than 93 percent of colleagues were fully vaccinated against COVD and no major outbreaks occurred among staff. 

Before the pandemic, the CDC and the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) held this annual awards program to honor immunization champions across the United States, eight U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. This year the awards have been reinstated and expanded to provide more opportunities for recognition in our communities. Since 1999, AIM has provided a national voice for immunization programs and a forum for program managers to learn from each other, confront challenges and achieve success.

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