Promoting the Health of our Patients and the Community Through Vaccines

Joan Bowes Ritter, MDIn addition to treating many chronic and serious illnesses at AFC, we are always striving to promote the health and wellness of our patients. Our vaccination program provides interventions critical to both our patients’ health and that of the wider community. Vaccination not only protects our patients, but also those who live and work near them, by preventing the transmission of bacteria and viruses to people who are unvaccinated or who do not respond to vaccinations.

Vaccination is critically important in certain occupations: healthcare, childcare, elder care, and food services. The majority of our patients work in these industries. Moreover, if our patients become ill and cannot work, they most likely will not get paid, making it difficult to support themselves and their families. For all of these reasons, AFC makes the recommended vaccines available and works to educate patients about the benefits of vaccinations against influenza, viral hepatitis, pneumonia, tetanus, and pertussis.

Eleanor, one of our staff nurses and an enthusiastic champion of our vaccine program, recently received an email from a former patient who three years ago had been very hesitant about getting the Zoster vaccine. The patient wrote that she had contracted shingles—even after getting the vaccine! But when her doctor explained that her case was much milder than it could’ve been thanks to the vaccine, she reached out to AFC to say thank you.

Much of our patient population is transient— people move to parts of the region that are a little more affordable, others get jobs with benefits or receive raises that put them above our income cutoff. The vaccines we provide give patients protection that they carry with them wherever they go. We are very appreciative to our clinical team for promoting this program, and to all of you for supporting their work.

—Joan Bowes Ritter, MD

Medical Director

Read our complete 2017 Annual Report.