In an effort to bolster sadly low immunization rates in Barton County, the Barton County Health Department is holding an immunization carnival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30, a the BCHD office, 1300 Kansas.
Why is this necessary? The United States is currently experiencing a decrease in immunization rates, the impact of this being felt recently by the pertussis outbreak.
Nationwide, 91.9 percent of 19- to 35-month-olds have had their MMR (for measles, mumps and rubella) shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Immunization Survey released earlier this year. That’s actually up from 2000, when 90.5 percent had been immunized, but it is down from 2006, when the figure was 92.3 percent.
In Kansas, the percentage was 92.7 in 2006 and fell to 89.4 in 2013, the CDC reported.
Kansas falls below the national average and Barton County falls below the state average.
Over all, 81 percent of children a up to age 2 are vaccinated. However, bottom half of the state, 81 percent up to age 2. However, only 20 percent of those ages 11-18 are up to date.
“This is so frustrating,” Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider said. Despite all their efforts, this continues to be a problem.
She provided the following list of the top reasons to be immunized.
• Vaccines will help keep you healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection against many diseases and infections, such as influenza, pneumococcal disease, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis A and B. Yet many individuals are not vaccinated as recommended, leaving them needlessly vulnerable to illness and long-term suffering.
• Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise.
Like eating right, exercising, and getting regular screenings for diseases such as colon and breast cancer, vaccines can also play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.
• Vaccination can mean the difference between life and death.
In the US, vaccine-preventable infections kill more individuals annually than HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, or traffic accidents. Approximately 50,000 adults die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases in the US.
• Vaccines are safe and effective.
Vaccines are among the safest medical products available and can prevent the suffering and costs associated with infectious diseases. The potential risks associated with the diseases that vaccines prevent are much greater than the potential risks from the vaccines themselves.
• Vaccines won’t give you the disease they are designed to prevent.
You cannot “catch” the disease from the vaccine. Some vaccines contain “killed” virus, and it is impossible to get the disease from them. Others have live, but weakened, viruses designed to ensure that you cannot catch the disease.
• Young and healthy people can get very sick, too.
Infants and the elderly are at greater risk for serious infections and complications,but vaccine-preventable diseases can strike anyone. If you’re young and healthy, getting vaccinated can help you stay that way.
• Vaccine-preventable diseases are expensive.
Diseases not only have a direct impact on individuals and their families, but also carry a high price tag for society as a whole, exceeding $10 billion per year in direct and indirect costs. An average influenza illness can last up to 15 days, typically with five or six missed work days.
• When you get sick, your children, grandchildren, and parents are at risk, too.
A vaccine-preventable disease that might make you sick for a week or two could prove deadly for your children, grandchildren, or parents if it spreads to them. In general, vaccine-preventable diseases are more serious for the very young and the very old. So when you get vaccinated to protect yourself, you’re protecting your family as well.
• Your family and coworkers need you.
Each year, millions of adults get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases, causing them to miss work and leaving them unable to care for those who depend on them, including their children and/or aging parents.
It should also be noted that up-to-date immunizations are required for children to enroll in school.
The bottom line is this – there is more than your own health at stake.