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posted on September 17, 2010 15:38
Idaho immunization rates improve to national average
 
The results of the annual National Immunization Survey show Idaho’s immunization rates for children 19-35 months of age improved from 60% in 2008 to 70.5% in 2009. Idaho’s immunization rates, which were lowest in the nation in 2008, are now at the national average.
 
Improving immunization rates and protecting children is a collaborative effort among many different groups in Idaho who are concerned about protecting children from preventable diseases. These include:
 
·         Physicians and healthcare providers who are at the forefront of ensuring their young patients are protected against preventable diseases;
·         District health departments who ensure access for all children and are very active in promoting vaccines to parents;
·         Idaho health insurers who recently partnered with the state to continue state purchasing of recommended children’s vaccines;
·         The statewide immunization coalition who provides education services and resources for Idaho’s parents and healthcare providers; and
·         Idaho lawmakers who recently approved legislation to enhance the ability of the state’s Immunization Reminder Information System (IRIS) to document administered vaccines and remind parents of necessary immunizations.
 
“We are hopeful that we are beginning to see the results of an aggressive effort by the state, healthcare providers and many other partners to immunize and protect our children from preventable diseases,” says Dr. Christine Hahn, M.D., state epidemiologist. “Immunizations are the most powerful and cost-effective way to protect our children, and we are grateful for all the immunization champions in our state for helping us improve.”
 
Even though the program has made significant improvements and vaccination rates are moving in a positive direction, Dr. Hahn says there remains much work to be done to protect all children from preventable diseases. As an example, Idaho continues to experience outbreaks of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which can be very dangerous for infants. The best way to protect against pertussis is to make sure children are fully immunized. Adults who care for children also should be up-to-date on their whooping cough immunizations.
 
Most parents want their children protected, but often lose track of their children’s vaccine schedules so they are not always up-to-date. Parents should consult with their health care provider to check their immunization records and schedule an appointment for any vaccines that have been missed.
 
The National Immunization Survey provides data on the rate of children ages 19-35 months in each state who are up-to-date on a series of immunizations, including those that protect against: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B, chicken pox, rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease. Historically, Idaho and other western states have had lower immunization rates than the national average. Idaho’s increased rate puts the state in step with the national average of 70.5%.
 
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