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Tennessee among top states for child immunizations

Tennessee Department of HealthNashville – Tennessee ranks fourth in the country in a new survey of rates of immunization for young children. The 2008 National Immunization Survey report was released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

child getting a shot(1)“We are thrilled with this survey, which shows the results of our diligent effort to increase immunization rates in Tennessee,” said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. “We know vaccines save lives, and are committed to ensuring the health of our state’s youngest citizens.”

Rates of immunization in Tennessee have improved dramatically over the last few years. Just five years ago, the 2003 NIS results showed Tennessee ranked 20th in the nation for the same vaccinations.

“Immunizations are the first line of defense in protecting children from an array of very serious illnesses,” said Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, medical director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. “For example, pertussis or “whooping cough” is a simple cough illness in unvaccinated teens and adults; however, it can be deadly to unvaccinated infants, who should get their first dose of vaccine when they’re two months old. For this reason, we urge all parents to vaccinate their children on time.”

Every child under 19 years of age in Tennessee can get all routinely recommended vaccines, regardless of ability to pay. The federal Vaccines for Children program guarantees that children without insurance coverage for vaccines can get them for just a small administration fee at many doctors’ offices and all county health departments. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to contact their health care provider or local health department for details. A list of Tennessee’s county health departments is available online at http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.

The following Web sites have reliable immunization information for parents:

CDC conducts the annual National Immunization Survey in all 50 states to monitor immunizations of children across the country. The survey focuses on six routine immunizations given to children from 19 to 35 months old. To view more results of the survey, go to the Internet at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5833a3.htm.

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