Miss. Department of Health Wants to Keep #1 Child Immunization RecordBy Daniel Cherry | Published 30 Jul 2011 09:40am |
As the beginning of the new school year approaches the state Department of Health is wanting to make sure all children are up to date on their vaccinations. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how health officials want to keep Mississippi at #1 for child immunization.
Any child attending public schools, head start, or daycare is required to get four different vaccines. Dr. Paul Byers is the acting State Epidemiologist with the Department of Health. He says the federal Vaccines for Children Program makes these shots much more available to the public.
"Under that program, kids who are 18 and under, if they qualify they can get vaccines for a $10 administration fee. So we don't want to have any barriers to families for being able to get their children appropriately immunized. "
To qualify, children must be under 18, on medicaid, or without insurance that covers immunizations. Sarah Macoy from Harrisville is letting her children cool off in the fountain outside the Mississippi Children's Museum. All her children were recently immunized.
"I've been concerned over the years of whether I should give them to them or not because mine aren't even in school. They're home schooled. But I wanted them to be up to date if I had something happen and they had to be put in school, I was concerned that if they were behind I couldn't put them in school. I had to go ahead and update them just to be sure. They say they're proven health so my kids are great."
Health officials say they ARE safe, and there's a greater risk of having old diseases like polio return if children don't stay on the immunization schedule. Dr. Byers says parents need to make sure they plan a visit soon before it's too late.
"Schools are about to open soon. It's important for parents not to wait until the last minute. If they have an opportunity to have their children vaccinated now is the best time. Although we will still be providing vaccines throughout the year whenever children need them."
There is at least one health clinic in every county where immunizations are available.
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