Why This Measure?
Before widespread immunization in the United States, infectious disease killed or disabled thousands of children each year. Tens of thousands of cases of paralytic polio and an average of 450,000 measles cases were reported annually (CDC Childhood Immunization Facts). We have achieved dramatic success in turning those grim statistics around, but our very success can cause some of us to forget about the risk and become lax in immunizing our children. Although Montana law now requires full vaccination before kindergarten, many younger children are left at risk through neglect or poverty. Immunization levels at age two reflect the status of the communitys commitment to provide accessible preventive health care to young children and families.
Estimated Percent of Children Visiting Health Care Providers
Who Were Fully Immunized by 24 to 36 Months of Age
Trend Better Data Rating Availablevv Reliablevv Relevantvvv
We compare favorably to other larger Montana towns in making solid progress toward the Healthy People 2000 goals of:
- Increasing to 90% the proportion of children under two years of age who have completed their basic series.
- Increasing to at least 95% basic immunization series among children in childcare or schools.
- Improving the financing and delivery of immunizations for children (and adults) so that no American has a financial barrier to receiving immunizations.
From 1995 through 1998 Missoula County schools with kindergarten entry level recorded 98 to 99% of incoming students (5 years of age) with "adequate immunization" (MT DPHHS). However, "adequate immunization" rates for two-year-olds are more difficult to accurately assess as many toddlers are not seen by health care providers.
Children need 80% of their vaccinations in the first two years of life, which requires multiple doses of vaccine and about five visits to a health care provider. Full immunization by age two consists of required and/or recommended protection against: diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, meningitis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella. Hepatitis A protection may be considered for older children.
A 1993 mumps case highlights the need for continuing vigilance. This person was not vaccinated and probably contracted the disease while out of the country. Missoula residents travel to many parts of the world, and Missoula hosts travelers from all over the globe. This increases the likelihood of the introduction of various vaccine-preventable diseases, which still occur at epidemic levels in many parts of the world (MCCHD, Health Promotion Division).
And its not only communicable diseases from which youngsters need protection. In early 1998, a nine-day-old infant contracted neonatal tetanus, a severe, often fatal disease. The babys mother had never been immunized, so her baby didnt receive any protection during pregnancy which usually lasts a few months until the vaccine series begins (MCCHD).
Coalitions that include health care providers, representatives of community-based organizations, and business leaders can make the difference in reaching children, developing innovative immunization efforts, and ensuring public support. They can provide important expertise, resources, and volunteer assistance. For example, in the past few years the Sentinel Kiwanis Club and McDonalds Hamburgers have teamed up with the Missoula City-County Health Department to sponsor the Spring Immunization Clinic at Southgate Mall, making childrens vaccinations affordable for a voluntary $5 donation.
Home | Domestic Violence | Health
Copyright 1999-2018 Missoula County