Idahos Childhood Immunization Rates Hit New Highs


BOISE -- Idahos key measurement for determining how many children are fully immunized jumped 9 percent in 2003, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Idahos rate increased from 69 percent in 2002 to 78 percent in 2003 for children 19-35 months of age who are fully immunized. Full immunization is based on five kinds of vaccines at different doses. The vaccines are for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB), and hepatitis B.


Idahos rate brings it to one percentage point below the national average, but higher than neighboring states like Utah, Washington and Oregon. Were very pleased to see the increase, says Dick Schultz, administrator for the Department of Health & Welfares Division of Health. It means that Idaho children are safer from diseases that can have a life long impact.


Idahos rate remained low for several years, but the Department of Health & Welfare, local health departments, hospitals, physicians, nurses and others have made immunization a very high priority.  That priority is supported by Governor Kempthorne who put childhood immunization high on his list of goals when he took office.


The increased rate is even more impressive when you realize the requirements to meet full immunization have increased substantially, says Schultz. Full immunization used to be three types of vaccine. Now its five types of vaccine over the first three years of a childs life.


Even under the original standard Idahos rate went up almost 9 percent from 2002 to 2003. Based on the standard requiring three vaccines, Idahos immunization rate is nearly 83 percent.


The increase in both categories is directly the result of all parties working together, says Trisha Hosch-Hebdon, immunization program manager. When you have this kind of team work, keeping that high level of commitment and awareness is a lot easier. And kids who are fully immunized against childhood diseases are the winners.


Source: Idaho Department of Health & Welfare


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