SuperTalk Mississippi

National Immunization Awareness Month: just in time for school

JACKSON, Miss. – In the wake of recent outbreaks in the United States of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis, Mississippi children have remained safe with one of the lowest rates of childhood diseases.

The Mississippi Department of Health believes that is the case due to our strong immunization rates.

In 2015, 107 cases of measles were diagnosed to mainly unvaccinated individuals. Those cases were linked to exposure at Disneyland, with cases crossing eight states. This April, closer to home, an outbreak of measles from a single unvaccinated person quickly spread through the Memphis area, causing seven of the 48 measles cases confirmed so far this year in the United States.

No cases of the measles have been reported in Mississippi since 1992.

With August recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month, MSDH officials said it is important to remember that childhood immunizations have a strong safety record, with far fewer side effects than the diseases they prevent.

“Immunization is a group effort that benefits the entire community,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “When your child is immunized, not only does it protect them, but it protects those children around them who cannot be immunized because of a medical condition or because they’re too young.”

Mississippi began a strong program of childhood immunizations in 1994 to bring the state up to national standards and has since become a national leader with over 99 percent of Mississippi kindergarteners fully up-to-date on their vaccinations.

The vaccines required for children first entering a Mississippi school or kindergarten, some of which protect against multiple diseases that include DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis),IPV (polio), hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella),and varicella (chickenpox).

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