Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tribune Editorial: Parents should get their kids immunized

West Central Tribune
Published March 11, 2011

A report Tuesday based upon federal data cited a notable decline recently in Minnesota’s childhood immunization rate.

The Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota report said that the childhood immunization rate in Minnesota dropped 3.6 percent in 2009 to 76.9 percent, compared to 80.5 percent in 2007.

According to experts, a 1 percent drop in immunization in Minnesota equates to 4,000 children. Thus, the latest immunization drop equals more than 14,000 children or more than 540 classrooms of children sitting in school without adequate vaccinations.

Those are significant statistics.

Parents are passing on immunizations for various reasons.

- Declining health care coverage due to lack of health insurance.

- A growing skepticism by some parents about the value of immunizations.

- A growing concern by some parents about the dangers of immunizations, such as the false linking of autism to immunization shots.

- A declining awareness among today’s parents of the dangers and threat of childhood diseases. Many parents today may not have ever seen a measles, mumps or chickenpox victim.

The key vaccinations for children under 3 include immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, flu, hepatitis and chickenpox

Health officials urge all parents to take the threat of these classic childhood diseases seriously and keep their children in a vaccination program.

This is sound advice, which every family should heed.

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