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FTF and partners honored for keeping young kids on track with immunizations

three women stand outside of Phoenix resort, holding an award

First Things First and its partners were honored this week with a 2022 Big Shots Award for their efforts to increase childhood immunization rates in Mohave County.

FTF CEO Melinda Morrison Gulick, FTF Senior Regional Director Ashley Pascual and FTF La Paz/Mohave Regional Director Vijette Saari accepted the award at an outdoor ceremony in Phoenix, April 27.

The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI) hosts the annual Best Practices and Brightest Starts Awards ceremony where the Big Shots of Arizona award is given. The award recognizes organizations and/or individuals who have distinguished themselves by improving the health and wellness of Arizona’s communities and the lives of Arizona children through increasing immunization rates. Award winners are selected for their exceptional efforts, tireless work and innovative strategies that have improved immunization coverage levels statewide.

FTF, the Mohave County Department of Public Health and the Regional Center for Border Health were chosen for a series of pop-up immunization events in northwest Arizona.

The 2021 mobile immunization clinics were planned in coordination with the Mohave County Health Department to help families catch up after many fell behind as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keeping babies, toddlers and preschoolers on track for their immunizations is important because young children aren’t protected yet from many preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.

The FTF La Paz/Mohave Region is considered a childhood vaccination desert. The area combines La Paz and Mohave counties and covers about 16,700 square miles, with its northern end separated from the rest by the Grand Canyon.

Ofelia Gonzalez is a public information officer at First Things First. You can reach her at​

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