August is National Immunization Month

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

This month is National Immunization Awareness Month and according to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of childhood disease.
Officials attribute this to the state’s “strong immunization rates.”
According to, NIAM focuses on the importance of vaccinating people of all ages and ensuring they are up to date.
In 2015, there were 107 documented cases of measles, a release from the MSDH states. The disease mainly affected unvaccinated people, according to the release.
This April, a single case of measles occurred in an unvaccinated person in the Memphis area, which caused seven of the 48 measles cases in the United States thus far this year, the release states.
According to the MSDH, there have been no reported cases of measles in Mississippi since 1992. The release also states, “it is important to remember that childhood immunizations have a strong safety record, with far fewer side effects than the diseases they prevent.”
In 1994, Mississippi health officials created a “strong” childhood immunization program to bolster the state’s national ranking, the release states. Since that time, more than 99 percent of the state’s kindergartners are fully up-to-date on vaccinations.
“Immunization is a group effort that benefits the entire community,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs in the release. “When your child is immunized, not only does it protect them, but it protects those children around them who cannot be immunized because of a medical condition or because they’re too young.”
Prior to entering school, Mississippi requires children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, the release states.
With new evidence that immunity from pertussis vaccination may decrease after a certain time period, it is now required for children entering seventh grade to obtain a vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. The MSDH recommends human papillomavirus and meningococcal vaccinations for young adults aged 11 to 15, the release states.
For more information about immunizations, visit

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