Parents want to protect their children, but they might not know about some of today’s vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent, such as polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, and whooping cough. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children - witness the Lake Stevens infant who died in the whooping cough epidemic that swept Snohomish County last year. More than 35,000 cases of whooping cough were reported across the United States last year, including 15 infant deaths. The majority of these deaths were among infants younger than 3 months of age.
Medical providers are standing by in Snohomish County to help you ensure your child is fully immunized against 16 vaccine-preventable childhood diseases during National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28.Vaccination is so important that Washington state subsidizes shots for children under age 19. Families are asked to pay an office visit and administration fee. These charges may be waived if the family cannot pay.
Vaccinate kids on time. Overseen locally by the Snohomish Health District, the state’s Vaccines for Children program enrolls and assists 84 health care professionals to safely stock and administer vaccines according to the recommended childhood immunization schedule. The Health District also immunizes children at its clinics in Lynnwood and Everett.
Vaccinate completely. A recent sample of local medical records showed about 25 percent patients aged 3 months-10 years were not up to date with the recommended whooping cough shots. Forty-nine percent of children 19-35 months of age in Snohomish County do not have complete vaccination records on file in the state’s central immunization registry.(Source: Washington State Department of Health, Child Profile Immunization Registry, 2010).
All vaccinators are encouraged to enter immunization information into the state’s Washington Immunization Information System, formerly known as Child Profile. Ask your pediatrician and family practice doctor if they participate, and check your family’s immunization status.
Vaccinate during pregnancy. In response to recent whooping cough outbreaks in several states, including Washington, the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices advises all pregnant women to get adult whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy, ideally in the third trimester. The antibodies formed will provide disease protection until the child is old enough to begin the vaccine series at two months of age. If Tdap is not given during pregnancy, women should get the vaccine as soon as possible following birth to prevent them from getting pertussis and passing it along to a newborn.
Flu vaccine is also recommended for pregnant women, so a baby is born with protection until it can receive flu vaccine at 6 months of age. To protect infants under six months old, make sure that everyone near them is fully vaccinated.
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier Snohomish County through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health Board and the Health District at http://www.snohd.org.