CDC award presented during National Infant Immunization Week

to recognize outstanding efforts to promote childhood vaccination


The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has named Ms. Geri Rodda, R.N. a Childhood Immunization Champion in recognition of her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Connecticut.


“For almost 15 years, Geri has been an innovator and leader in the promotion of childhood immunizations in our state,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “Every child has the right to be fully immunized, and Geri exemplifies the many dedicated health professionals across Connecticut who work hard to ensure that all children receive life-saving vaccinations when they need them.”


While coordinating the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Well Child Clinic and serving as nurse consultant to area child care centers, Ms. Rodda observed that many parents do not understand the benefits of childhood immunization. Without that knowledge, some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children. Ms. Rodda decided to tackle this problem in an innovative way—by writing two children's books about vaccines.  The Flu and You and Vaccines for Maxine have attracted national attention, raising awareness of the importance of childhood immunization. Many state health departments have purchased the books to educate their communities. Ms. Rodda is a resident of New Milford.

Each year, in connection with National Infant Immunization Week, the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge exemplary individuals who go above and beyond to promote or foster immunizations among children 0-2 years old in their communities.


“Immunization plays a key role in protecting the health of America’s children,” said Anne Dr. Schuchat, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Ensuring that all children are immunized requires a cadre of dedicated health professionals and community leaders nationwide. The Champion awards give us the opportunity to salute these individuals for their service to our children.”


CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health care professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. State and Territorial Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and notified CDC of their recommendations. No more than one winner was selected in each state or territory.