Northwest Colorado Health: Protect children with vaccines
April 27, 2017
To the editor:To the editor:To the editor:
It's World Immunization Week, and we want take this occasion to emphasize the importance of protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines, considered among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools, help prevent the spread of 26 diseases. Immunization schedules are designed to protect infants and children early in life, before they are exposed to disease. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S. they can still be commonly transmitted in many parts of the world. Outbreaks of the measles in 2014 and mumps earlier this year were traced to unvaccinated individuals who brought the diseases back to the U.S. from other countries. The majority of people who became ill were not vaccinated.
Vaccine-preventable disease is a major cause of child hospitalization. For this reason, some vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are required by Colorado law for children attending child care, preschool or kindergarten. Booster vaccines are required before entering sixth grade. Keeping children up-to-date helps protect others who cannot be immunized such as infants and children with certain medical conditions. If there is a disease outbreak at school, children who have been exempt from required vaccines for medical, religious or personal reasons may be kept out of school until it is deemed safe for them to return
Vaccines undergo rigorous safety testing prior to being approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are continually monitored for safety. We encourage parents to speak to their child's health care provider about vaccines and to ensure their children are up-to-date. You can view immunization schedules by age and find more information and resources at northwestcoloradohealth.org/immunizations.
Immunizations are a shared responsibility. Families, health care providers, schools and public health officials must work together to help protect our community.
Charity Neal, RN, director of Public Health, Northwest Colorado HealthCharity Neal, RN, director of Public Health, Northwest Colorado HealthCharity Neal, RN, director of Public Health, Northwest Colorado Health
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