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Cavalier County Public Health reminds parents to keep up to date

The following information was provided by the Cavalier County Public Health District and the North Dakota Department of Public Health.

National Immunizations Awareness Month

Posted on 8/13/16

By Melissa Anderson

With the school year fast approaching, parents are preparing their children for a year of learning. While many will be making shopping lists and trips to the store to ensure their children have everything they need, one list that parents also need to be checking is their child’s vaccination record.

“Immunization updates are required for entry to Kindergarten, 7th grade, college freshman and for any student missing required vaccinations at these milestone grades,” Terri Gustafson said.

The month of August is National Immunization Month, which is not surprising as it is during this month that the nation’s children once again find themselves close together at the commencement of the new school year. This closeness provides the perfect atmosphere for the spreading of illnesses.

Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school, or even a college freshman, parents should check their child’s vaccination records.

Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments.

In North Dakota, children are required to show proof of immunization before entry into child care, school, or home-based instruction. Schools and child care centers are responsible for the collection of immunization records and exemption forms and the enforcement of state immunization requirements. Children who are not fully immunized according to state requirements have 30 days to receive any missing immunizations or they must be excluded from school.

North Dakota has experienced more than a decade of declining immunization rates. In 2000, 95 percent of North Dakota’s kindergartners were fully immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella.

During the 2014-2015 school year, North Dakota ranked as one of the five lowest states for kindergarten immunization rates, with only 89 percent of kindergartners fully immunized against these diseases. During the 2015-2016 school year, approximately 91 percent of kindergartners had received all of the recommended vaccinations.

These rates are well below the Healthy People 2020 goals of having 95 percent of kindergartners fully immunized. This threshold is important to achieve herd immunity, which occurs when a critical percentage of the population is vaccinated against a disease. When herd immunity is achieved, outbreaks are prevented by limiting the spread of disease.

At Cavalier County Public Health District, insurance companies are billed for vaccine costs. Ninety-eight percent of insurance companies cover the full cost of vaccines and the administration of vaccines to children.

Vaccines are also provided to other eligible children which include children with no insurance, children on Medicaid or are under insured and Native Americans.

Immunization Day is scheduled for August 16 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Cavalier County Public Health office and by appointment on other days.

If you have any questions regarding vaccines please call the Cavalier County Public Health office at 256-2402.