State health organizations urge kids to receive vaccinationsThis year, the U.S. is on pace to have the most cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in five decades. There have been 18,000 reported cases this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Minnesota is one of the states reporting high numbers of the bacterial disease that is preventable by vaccines.
This year, the U.S. is on pace to have the most cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in five decades. There have been 18,000 reported cases this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Minnesota is one of the states reporting high numbers of the bacterial disease that is preventable by vaccines.
The Children’s Physician Network, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Head Start Association, Immunization Action Coalition and the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota are working together to raise awareness as part of August’s National Immunization Awareness Month.
They seek to send a simple but extremely important message to parents: Get your children vaccinated before the school year starts.
While Minnesota’s school immunization laws ensure that most students are vaccinated, some parents in the state are opting out. Schools are highly susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses as a result of poor hand-washing, uncovered coughs and dense populations in schools.
“Immunization is one of the greatest success stories in public health and one of the best decisions parents can make to protect their children,” said Dr. Peter Dehnel of the Children’s Physician Network. “For families that have fallen behind the recommended schedule, it is never too late to get caught up.”
According to the CDCs, routine child immunizations in the U.S. prevent an estimated 33,000 deaths and save $43 billion in societal costs each year.
The need to maintain high vaccination rates is not limited to young children. While the majority of recommended immunizations are administered early in life, experts say many parents often overlook recommended vaccines for their teenagers and themselves.
Most Minnesota clinics are part of a program called Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC), which will cover the cost of the vaccines for children through age 18 who are on medical assistance or are uninsured.
See the official recommendations for children and teenagers at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-11x17-fold-pr.pdf.
Minnesotans may also call the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-800-657-3970 or (651) 201-5503.