MINI clinics get national award for boosting vaccination rates

With 108 community partners, we’ve given 86,000 free flu shots to the uninsured and underinsured

Fairview Community Health workers with national award
Achoo! Anyone who’s experienced the fever, muscle aches, and nasal congestion of the flu knows it’s miserable. The flu can also cause serious — even life threatening — complications. That’s why Fairview works with 108 community partners to give free flu shots to our neighbors who are uninsured, underinsured, or experiencing homelessness.

After 12 years and more than 86,000 influenza vaccinations, the Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative (MINI) has national and local honors to celebrate.

What is MINI?

“Influenza poses a public health challenge because people have to get a shot every year, and vulnerable populations face persistent cost and access barriers,” says Ingrid Johansen, Fairview’s Manager of Clinical Care and Outreach. “We help overcome barriers by bringing the clinics to the community, building trust, and fostering relations.”

The MINI clinics are hosted at non-traditional locations such as churches, mosques, schools, community centers, food pantries, and homeless shelters. Our local partner provides the space, promotion, and interpreters. Fairview provides the vaccine, vaccinators, and paperwork — including translations and information about other local resources. Participants age 6 months and older get vaccinated at no charge.

Helping our communities

The Outstanding Influenza Season Activities Award was presented to MINI at the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit. It “recognizes individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions towards improving vaccination rates within their communities.”

Public Health Reports, a national journal, is publishing an article about MINI clinics that is coauthored by several of the partners. It highlights the lessons the group learned in reaching out to immigrant and minority groups.

Fairview was also recently notified that the collaborative is once again getting two grants to continue its work.
  • From the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI) of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Center for Health Equity, a four-year grant based on diverse community partnerships and commitment to address health inequities. These funds help make this important work possible.
  • From Delta Dental of Minnesota, a $25,000 grant to continue dental varnish treatments and oral health education in the community. A newer program, it’s a direct result of MINI’s flu vaccine outreach.

“The Community Advancement team has a number of dedicated professionals that deserve acknowledgement for the phenomenal work they do,” says Kim DeRoche, MD, Fairview's Physician Chief of Primary Care and MINI’s Medical Director. “Recognition of this care on a national scene is well-deserved.”

You can support the health and wellbeing of our neighbors by making a gift to Fairview Foundation or volunteering at an upcoming clinic.  To be added to the volunteer list, email Ingrid Johansen at  ijohans1@fairview.org.

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