Vaccines save over 700,000 lives
More than 300 million illnesses have been prevented over the past two decades because of vaccines, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
In addition, at least 732,000 child deaths have been prevented since 1994, according to the National Immunization Survey, which monitors vaccination coverage among U.S. children 19 to 35 months old.
“Vaccinations are so essential to health care,” says Dr. Adeshola Ezeokoli, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “It really does save lives.”
Vaccinations are also trending upward as more children are getting immunized.
The CDC reported that 90 percent of children under 3 years old were vaccinated against mumps, rubella, chicken pox, polio and measles last year. Around 71 percent also received multiple shots for diseases such as DTaP, which requires four doses, and Hepatitis B, which has at least three doses.
“The really positive message here is that even though we hear a lot about vaccine refusal, most parents choose to protect their children,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, a pediatrician with the CDC, in a news release “It’s impressive that so many parents are coming in to get their children vaccinated on time. Parents, providers and government have worked together to accomplish this.”
The percentage of children who received no vaccine hovers around 1 percent.
Rhode Island had the highest percentage of children receiving multiple vaccinations at 82.1 percent, followed by Nebraska at 79 percent and Connecticut at 78 percent.
The states lagging behind in children being vaccinated were Arkansas at 57.1 percent, Ohio at 61.7 percent and Oklahoma at 62.7 percent.
Dr. Ezeokoli says that vaccinations are key this time a year because kids are back in school and flu season is about to start.
“Vaccination is very important to prevent viruses, especially since we are going to be in the midst of flu season in October,” Dr. Exeokoli says. “You have to make sure people around you like your children, elderly parents and people with chronic diseases get their shots.”
To see if your child is up to date on their vaccines, check out the Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years provided by the CDC.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.