GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- This year, the United States is on pace to have the most cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in five decades. There have been 18,000 reported cases this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Minnesota is one of the states reporting high numbers of the bacterial disease that is preventable by vaccines.
A group of medical and educational organizations in Minnesota are collaborating to send a simple, but extremely important message to parents: Get your children vaccinated before the school year starts. The Children's Physician Network, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Head Start Association, Immunization Action Coalition, and the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota are working together to raise awareness as part of August's National Immunization Awareness Month.
"Immunization is one of the greatest success stories in public health and one of the best decisions parents can make to protect their children," said Dr. Dehnel. "For families that have fallen behind the recommended schedule, it is never too late to get caught up."
Most Minnesota clinics are part of a program called Minnesota Vaccines for Children, which will cover the cost of the vaccines for children through age 18 who are on medical assistance or are uninsured. MnVFC distributes about $39 million worth of vaccines to public and private clinics in Minnesota each year.
The CDC's recommended immunization schedule includes:
• For children from birth through six years old: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), IPV (polio), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), varicella (chicken pox), PCV (pneumococcal disease), hepatitis A and hepatitis B, rotavirus, influenza, and Haemophilus (Hib)
• For children ages 7 to 18: Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), MCV (meningococcal), influenza, and HPV (human papillomavirus).
Where to get vaccinated:
• Doctors' offices/medical clinics
• Urgent care facilities (not all)
• Walk-in clinics (not all)
• Health departments (not all)
Getting vaccinated at the right ages is important, but it is never too late to catch up. A schedule of the official recommendations for children and teenagers is available on the CDC's website.
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