San Diego County health officials reminded residents Wednesday to protect themselves from measles and other preventable diseases by getting vaccinated.
The Health and Human Services Agency’s announcement comes at the confluence of National Immunization Awareness Month in August and the recent nationwide measles outbreak that reached Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The disease has not been confirmed within San Diego County since 2017, but that could change at any time and could hit harder in areas of the county with low vaccination rates, according to the HHSA.
“Vaccines are the best line of defense we have against disease,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Because of vaccines, most parents have not seen first-hand the devastating consequences of diseases like measles and others.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be vaccinated for 16 diseases and viruses, including the flu, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and polio. Children and teenagers are also advised to receive boosters for various vaccines after receiving an initial immunization.
The CDC estimates that childhood vaccines have prevented an estimated 855,000 deaths and 381 million illnesses in the U.S. from 1994 to 2016.
County residents can contact the HHSA’s immunization department at 866- 358-2966 or sdiz.org. Residents without health insurance can get their children vaccinated for free at one of the county’s health centers or certain retail pharmacies.
A listing of the county’s health centers can be found by calling 211.
—City News Service