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Health Centers Continue to Exceed Immunization Goals

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Immunizations are one of the most effective public health tools, and it is an area in which the Northern Kentucky Health Department excels: A recent audit found that 95 percent or more of children seen at the Health Department’s county health centers had received all of their recommended immunizations. Further, immunization rates at three of the four health centers improved from 2013 to 2014, and the fourth center maintained its coverage rate of 99 percent.

The annual 2-year-old immunization audit is conducted by the Kentucky Immunization Program. For 2014, the Grant County Health Center in Williamstown had a rate of 99 percent, followed by the Campbell County Health Center in Newport with a rate of 98 percent, the Boone County Health Center in Florence with 97 percent and the Kenton County Health Center in Covington with 95 percent. In comparison, Kentucky’s statewide immunization rate is 78 percent and the national rate is 73 percent. The Health Department’s four county health centers were all above 90 percent—the benchmark set by the state and federal government.

“The measles outbreak originating in California shows just how vital immunizations are to protecting our communities from infectious diseases,” said Jennifer Hunter, RN, MSN, Director of Clinical Services. “Immunizations are safe, effective and can save a child’s life. That’s why ensuring that all Northern Kentucky children are immunized is so important to our staff—and why we continually strive to improve our immunization rates, with a goal of reaching 100 percent coverage.”

The vaccine coverage rates track seven childhood immunizations, with a total of 19 doses, recommended for children by age 18 months. The audit checks for compliance at 24 months, giving families a six-month cushion should the child need to be caught up. It includes:

“Even as our service model adapts in response to the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, immunizations continue to be a core function of public health,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Recent outbreaks in other states of vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles and mumps, reinforce how important it is to achieve high immunization rates, and increase immunity throughout our community.”

The Health Department provides more than 6,000 childhood vaccinations annually. It offers vaccinations for 15 childhood diseases at its four county health centers on a daily basis. Through the federal Vaccines for Children program, many vaccines are available to children age 18 years and under who would not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.

For more information about childhood immunizations, please call 859.341.4264 or visit http://www.nkyhealth.org.

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Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or Emily.Gresham-Wherle@nkyhealth.org, about any request or information before calling any other Health Department employee. Your calls and requests will be handled expediently with your deadlines in mind. Thank you for your interest and support in educating the community about public health issues.

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For statewide news releases, please visit the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.