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State promotes August as National Immunization Awareness Month

Published: Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 7:38 p.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD – During August, National Immunization Awareness Month, the Illinois Department of Public Health encourages people to speak with their health care provider, not only about vaccines needed for children, but for adults as well.  

“Vaccines are an important step in protecting against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases,” Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said in a news release. “Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. They are proven to protect children from 14 serious diseases before they turn two years old, adolescents from cancer caused by certain types of HPV, young adults from meningitis, people of all ages from flu and aging populations from various illnesses.”

While immunizations have significantly reduced the incidence of many serious infectious diseases, vaccination rates for some diseases are not meeting national public health goals.  However, Illinois is making strides in increasing vaccination coverage. 

Illinois is one of only five states that showed a significant increase (12 percent) in one or more doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine coverage in girls from 2012 to 2013, and one of only four states with a significant increase (almost 13 percent) in three or more doses of HPV vaccine. 

To help prevent illness and outbreaks due to vaccine-preventable diseases, Illinois is implementing new immunization requirements for the 2014-15 school year. Beginning this year, children entering school at any grade level need to show proof of having received two doses each (instead of just one) of rubella and mumps vaccines. In addition, any child entering kindergarten, sixth grade or ninth grade for the first time shall show proof of having received two doses of varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. 

For the following school year, 2015-16, students will need to show proof of having received a meningococcal vaccination, something that is currently not required. 

For school entrance, students must show proof of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis b, varicella and pneumococcal (depending on age) vaccinations. For information about immunizations, visit www.idph.state.il.us/about/shots.htm.

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