News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org


August is National Immunization Month
Back-to-school is a good time to check immunization records


(August 8, 2008) Late summer is a good time to review immunization records for everyone in the family, say local public health officials. Certain vaccines are encouraged from infancy on through adulthood to prevent serious, and sometimes life-threatening, diseases.

According to Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, infants are especially vulnerable to diseases that could be passed on from school-aged brothers and sisters.

“That is why it is so important to protect the entire family through immunizations,” he said. “We urge parents to protect their children and adolescents against once-deadly diseases, such as meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and cervical cancer by keeping up-to-date on immunizations.”

Each year, hundreds of children in Michigan become ill from diseases that could have been prevented if their immunizations complete.

"Many parents do not realize that some childhood vaccines, such as those for tetanus and whooping cough, wear off over time and, as they get older, young people are at risk of exposure to different diseases at school, camp or in other new situations,” said Meyerson.

“As you bring your children in for their well-child checkups or sports physicals, ask their health care provider to check their immunization status, including when to come back for the flu vaccine. At the same time, it would be a good idea to make sure that the whole family is completely up-to-date on immunizations.”

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) & Prevention recommends 11- and 12-year-olds, as well as teenagers who have not already received them, get the Tdap vaccine--to protect them against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis—and the vaccine that protects against meningitis. In addition, the HPV vaccine for most cervical cancers, is recommended for girls and young women.

Adults and the elderly, especially those with underlying health concerns, should receive an annual flu shot as well as age-appropriate shots to guard against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal, and Hepatitis A and B.

In 2008 there have been more cases of measles, a highly contagious viral disease, in the United States since 1997. So far this year, seven distinct measles outbreaks, including an outbreak in Cadillac, with a total of more than 130 cases, have been reported across the country. Each of the cases involved largely un-immunized groups and sparked by a case from another part of the world.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Through a centralized statewide immunization registry, Health Department staff can help identify the “shots” everyone in the family needs. Immunization appointments are available at Health Department offices in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information, call 800-432-4121 or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.


###