Failure to vaccinate puts children at risk for preventable diseases
Galveston County Health District recognizes National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28
Childhood immunization rates, including those for infants, in Galveston County are in line with those reported statewide, but education on immunization importance and safety continues to be a priority for the Galveston County Health District (GCHD).
GCHD is participating in National Infant Immunization Week April 21-28 to help raise awareness about the benefits of immunizations to improve the health of children 2 years old and younger.
“These diseases still exist,” said Eileen Dawley, GCHD chief nursing officer. “It’s easy to think these diseases are not a threat because we don’t deal with them on a daily basis, but each year across the country, thousands of children get seriously sick and some pass away from illnesses they didn’t have to get.”
GCHD’s Immunization Services division works to protect the health and well-being of the community by providing children, and adults, protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.
In Galveston County, the most common reported childhood vaccine-preventable illness since 2013 is varicella, better known as chickenpox. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is the second most common during the same period. There has been one varicella case reported to GCHD through March this year. In 2017, a total 22 cases were reported. Four cases of Pertussis have been reported through March 2018 with a total of five reported in 2017.
Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.
GCHD recommends parents speak with their medical provider about the vaccines appropriate for their children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended immunization schedule and other important information is available at www.ImmunizeTexas.com.
The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect babies early in life, when they are vulnerable and before it’s likely that they will be exposed to diseases, said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), CDC.
Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States, according to the CDC. The CDC reports up to 20 babies die from whooping cough each year in the United States, with most of those deaths among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination.
“Unfortunately some parents make the decision not to immunize based on debunked information about complications such as autism,” Dawley continued. “Science has repeatedly discounted a link between vaccines and autism.”
Parents are encouraged to register their child in ImmTrac, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) program that stores children’s confidential immunization information for medical provider access. To learn more about ImmTrac, please visit www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/immtrac.
The GCHD Immunization Clinic, located at 9850-B Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City, offers many immunizations for children and adults. The clinic will also offer educations resources during National Infant Immunization Week. For more information about the clinic, please call (409) 938-2244 or visit www.gchd.org/immunizations.