Send Your Kids Back to School with Their Vaccines Up to Date
Back-to-school season is here. Time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your kids are up-to-date on their vaccines.
The New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Primary Care Association and the New Mexico Immunization Coalition, along with our managed care partners, Molina, United Healthcare and Presbyterian, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico are working together to make sure that all New Mexico children are immunized on time.
Their efforts are part of the annual Got Shots? Protect Tots! campaign which strives to get New Mexico children all of the vaccines recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization schedule.
Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.
“Thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases are rare in both New Mexico and the United States,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “But these diseases still exist in other countries, and are only a plane ride away. They can make children very sick, leading to many days of missed school, missed work for parents, and even hospitalization and death.”
In 2012, 874 cases of whooping cough (Pertussis) were reported to the New Mexico Department of Health, 3 times more than were reported in 2011. Of the 874 cases in 2012, 73 were infants, 25 of whom were hospitalized.
That same year in the United States, more than 48,000 cases of whooping cough were reported. Twenty deaths were reported – the majority of these deaths were in children younger than 3 months of age. “Without vaccines, these numbers would be much, much higher,” Ward said. “That’s why kids still need vaccines.”
The good news is New Mexico is doing better than the national average on getting children immunized by age two. For 2012, New Mexico's immunization rate for 2 year olds was 76.1 percent, while the US rate was 71.9 percent. By the time New Mexican children go to school, their immunization rates are over 90 percent complete.
New Mexico has been working hard for over 10 years to minimize missed opportunities and barriers to getting children immunized. Got Shots? Protect Tots! is another way that New Mexico providers help to get kids up to date on their shots.
It’s an important job because when children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of disease and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community - including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
School age children need vaccines. For example, kids who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and polio. Older children, like pre-teens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), HPV (human papillomavirus), and MCV (meningococcal conjugate virus) vaccines.
Check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines they need this year. Parents can find the nearest vaccination locations here on our website or at the visit the Got Shots? Protect Tots! website.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.