Illinois: Under 5 COVID-19 Campaign and Podcast


A podcast was created in Illinois to help physicians talk in a casual setting about COVID-19 vaccination and reach target demographics.


On June 15, 2022, COVID-19 vaccine approval for children ages 6 months to 4 years was expected imminently. Children have experienced negative outcomes from COVID-19 contraction, especially those with existing conditions. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) needed to decide on an advocacy strategy for effectively promoting vaccination for this age group.


IDPH looked to its partnership with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP), which was already working to normalize COVID-19 vaccines through Illinois Vaccinates Against COVID-19 (I-VAC). I-VAC is a joint effort that also includes the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO)-Chicago and the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP).

Through I-VAC, the “Beyond the Needle” podcast was created. This podcast is a physician’s guide to increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates. Clinicians are invited to sit down with a weekly guest primary care clinician to tackle the real-world barriers to COVID-19 vaccination uptake and hear their experiences with implementation. Together, providers uncover practical solutions to help incorporate the COVID-19 vaccine into routine clinical workflows and increase vaccination rates. The podcast honors the struggles and traumas of the pandemic, empowering the primary care clinician to feel confident in implementing COVID-19 vaccinations so that their patients can receive the vaccine within their usual site of care. It features I-VAC faculty and primary care clinicians from across the state to share the highs and lows of their experiences and lessons learned throughout the pandemic.

Once the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approved vaccine usage for this youngest age group, an episode targeting pediatric issues around vaccinating the newly eligible 6 months to four years old population to increase vaccination rates was featured. This podcast episode is titled “Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccines for Children under 5 Years to 6 Months Old & Addressing Vaccination Concerns for Parents,” and is the tenth installment of the “Beyond the Needle” podcast. The podcast also discusses topics such as parental and physician vaccine hesitancy, other challenges, positive experiences, and best practices, strategies, and resources for vaccinating this young age group. The podcast is available online and includes a transcript of the conversation. Pediatrician education is important because IDPH recommends parents consult their pediatricians on the decision to vaccinate their children.


Illinois pediatricians provided informed consultation to parents about vaccinating newly eligible children between ages 6 months and 4 years against COVID-19.

Supplemental Resources

Years: 2022

Locations: Illinois

Programmatic Areas: Communication, COVID-19, Partnerships, Public Health Functions

Key Words: Adolescents, Communication, COVID-19, Health Promotion, Immunization Education, local health department, outbreak management, Partnership, provider training

Evidence Based: No

Evaluations: No

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