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Click on one of the headings below to learn more.

What is the Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI)?

In collaboration with the Autism Society of America and 18 other affiliates across the country, the Autism Society of Greater Akron (ASG) is participating in the Aging and Disability Vaccine Collaborative (ADVC) Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI) —a public health model to increase vaccine confidence, education, and access for the Autism/Developmental Disability community. Through the VEI, ASGA strives to improve patient and population health by ensuring children, adults, and seniors with disabilities are included and supported.

People with Autism and other disabilities often do not have access to vaccinations for various reasons including the process of vaccination itself. Needle anxiety, anxiety of medical visits, and prior bad experiences can influence whether a person receives a vaccine. We hope to increase vaccination accessibility for individuals with Autism and other underserved populations by providing training in improved vaccine administration to healthcare providers and healthcare students.  In addition to training in vaccination adaptations and supports, ASGA provides non-biased educational materials to help families and individuals make informed decisions about vaccines through our website.

ASGA is pleased to offer adapted vaccination opportunities to better serve the Autism and the greater disability communities. ASGA partners with healthcare providers to offer adapted vaccination clinics and train local pharmacy and healthcare partners in adapted techniques. Through the VEI funded healthcare training, ASGA will:

  • Provide healthcare workers with an understanding of Autism and barriers to healthcare.
  • Teach tips on communicating with Autism/DD community.
  • Introduce effective strategies to reduce pain and anxiety for these families during the vaccination visit.
  • Use supports such as visual schedules, communication boards, and social stories during vaccination appointments.
  • Teach practical tips to improve vaccine confidence by employing strategies to reduce stress when vaccinating neurodiverse patients.
  • Create inclusive vaccination environments.
  • Distribute sensory kits that include equipment such as headphones and fidgets to aid in the vaccination process.

By improving the vaccine experience, ASGA hopes to make vaccination more accessible for neurodiverse populations at any age.

Please check back for announcements about future adapted vaccination opportunities!

What is the flu shot?
The flu shot is a vaccine that helps your body defend itself against viruses. Vaccines help your body protect against certain viruses and diseases. Flu shots contain the same germs that cause the flu, but the germs are very weak so they don’t make you sick. Flu shots help you not get the flu and help protect others near you not get the flu.


Why is it important to get the flu shot?

Flu is an illness that passes from one person to another. You could get it easily if you do not get a flu shot. Some people who have the flu will only get a little sick, but other people who have the flu may feel very sick and need to get medical help in a hospital.

Getting a flu shot can help you from getting very sick from the flu, and even help stop you from getting the flu. When you get a flu shot you are protecting yourself and others because you are less likely to pass the flu virus to someone else.


Who should get the flu shot?

Anyone over 6 months and older should get a flu shot. Many people with disabilities may have health conditions that make it easier for them to get the flu or get very sick from the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the same people with disabilities who are at higher risk for getting really sick from the flu are also at higher risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19. It is important that all people with disabilities, their families, and people who work with people with disabilities get their flu shot to protect themselves and the people near them.


Where can I get the flu shot?

Flu shots are offered in many doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, pharmacies, health departments, and even in schools and businesses. You can use VaccineFinder to find where to get a flu shot near you.


How will I get the flu shot?

A flu shot gives you the vaccine using a needle in your arm. It is a very quick and easy way to get the flu vaccine. After some people get the flu shot, their arm might be a little red or hurt. That is normal and will go away. Some people will get the flu vaccine using a spray in their nose. Ask your doctor if a flu shot or spray is best for you.


When should you get the flu shot?

You should get a flu shot in the Fall, before the end of October. Lots of people get the flu between October and May, so it is easier for you to get the flu then. It is okay if you did not get the flu shot yet. It is still available and important to get at any time in the flu season.


Flu Shot Facts

1.     The flu shot is safe to get.

The flu shot and other vaccines are safe to get. All vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are made available. The flu vaccine has one of the best safety records of any vaccine.

2.     The flu shot cannot give you the flu.

The flu shot contains very weak flu germs that cannot cause you to become sick. You may feel a little sick right after you get the vaccine, but that is a sign that your body’s immune system is working.

3.     The flu shot does not cause autism.

There is no evidence that any vaccine, including the flu vaccine, causes autism spectrum disorder or is related to autism spectrum disorder. Learn more about this harmful myth on the CDC website.

4.     Vaccines like the flu shot help you stay healthy.

Keeping clean, drinking clean water, and eating healthy food will help you stay healthy. However, research shows that vaccines are better at protecting yourself and others.

5.     You need to get the flu shot every year.

To protect yourself and others from the flu, you must get the flu shot every year. Different types of flu vaccines are in the shots every year to protect against flu viruses most common that year.

 

Action steps:

 

Akron Children’s Hospital NeuroDevelopmental Science Center

ASGA is proud to partner with the Akron Children’s Hospital NeuroDevelopmental Science Center to offer adapted vaccination for flu shots at the office.  Thanks to the Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI) grant, the nurses at this center have been trained in adapted vaccination techniques and have low-tech tools to help manage needle anxiety and needle pain.  If your child is a patient in this group of providers, you can request a flu shot and receive an adapted experience.  Just ask for an adapted flu vaccine for your child when you check in to your child’s appointment. Your child will receive a vaccine support kit bag including sunglasses, stress ball, fidget, headphones, information about needle anxiety, and a ShotBlocker tool to assist with needle pain.  The flu season can last until May, so it’s not too late to protect your child from the flu. Not sure if your provider is at this center?

Visit the Akron Children’s Hospital NeuroDevelopmental Science Center website to see if your provider is at the center located in downtown Akron in the Considine Building 4th floor or call 330-543-8050.

 

Akron Public Schools

Is your child a student enrolled in Akron Public Schools? If so, did you know that your child can receive a vaccine in their home school health center with nurses trained in adapted vaccination? The nurses at the Akron Children’s Hospital School-Based Health Center have been trained in adapted vaccination through the Vaccination Education Initiative (VEI) grant.  Sensory materials such as headphones, fidgets, stress balls, and sunglasses are available when your child receives their flu or required school vaccines.  Nurses use tools such as Shot Blockers and Buzzys to assist with needle anxiety and pain.  It’s not too late to schedule a flu shot!

To schedule a vaccination appointment for your child at their home school, call 330-543-7242.

 

Adults can get COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to them!

COVID-19 vaccines are still available at no cost to most people living in the U.S. through their private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid plans. However, there are 25-30 million adults without health insurance and additional adults whose insurance does not offer COVID-19 vaccines at no cost to them.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offers the Bridge Access Program!  It provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to adults without health insurance and adults whose insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs. All CDC-recommended updated COVID-19 vaccines are included in the Bridge Access Program.

Who can get a no-cost COVID-19 vaccine through this program?

  • Adults 18 years and older without health insurance and adults with health insurance that does not provide zero-cost access to COVID-19 vaccines, i.e. you have a co-pay.

Where can someone get a no-cost COVID-19 vaccine through the Bridge Access Program?

  • Most CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. Be sure to confirm store participation when you call to schedule your appointment.
  • Local health departments – call to schedule an appointment:
    • Summit County Public Health - (330) 812-3928 1867
    • Kent City Health Department - (330)-678-8109
    • Medina County Combined General Health District - (330) 723-9688
    • Stark County General Combined Health District - (330) 493-9914
    • Portage County Health Department - (330) 296-9919
  • Visit vaccines.gov to find a provider that offers no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through the Bridge Access Program.

When will the program end?

  • The Bridge Access Program will provide no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to eligible adults through December 31, 2024.

Questions or want to learn more? 

Visit cdc.gov/vaccines/bridge