San Diego County health officials reminded residents Wednesday to vaccinate their children to keep them healthy, as part of National Immunization Awareness Month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get vaccines to prevent 16 diseases, including polio, tetanus and diphtheria. The CDC also recommends every child 6 months or older get a yearly influenza shot.
While vaccine-preventable disease rates have dropped in the United States, outbreaks do happen. San Diego County has seen outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in recent years, including a 5-week-old San Diego infant’s death to pertussis in 2016.
Vaccines are estimated to prevent 381 million illnesses, 24.5 million hospitalizations and 855,000 deaths of children, according to the CDC.
“Since all vaccines go through a rigorous approval process — by scientists, doctors and the federal government — they are safe and effective,” said Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county’s deputy public health officer. “It’s important that we continue to vaccinate our children to keep them from getting sick.”
The county recommends 4- to 6-year-old children get four vaccines: chicken pox; MMR (measles, mumps and rubella); polio; and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis). Preteens and teens are advised to get a Tdap booster shot, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
The CDC also recommends teenagers get the vaccines for humanpapilloma virus and meningococcal disease.
Vaccines can be obtained through a family’s regular medical provider as well as local pharmacies. Uninsured residents can get vaccinated at a county public health center for free.
–City News Service
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