Free immunizations offered this week

Published 6:52 pm Monday, April 26, 2010

An official from the Mississippi State Department of Health saidit’s a good idea to keep children’s immunizations current, not justfor the meantime but to benefit them in the long run.

“It’s a good idea to start them early, because in many instancesthose vaccines can be lifelong,” said area district health officerDr. Thomas Dobbs.

In order to assist parents in that undertaking, the MSDH isoffering free routine immunizations for infants and childrenthrough 18 years of age this week at all county health departments,he said.

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“It’s still very important because we have a lot ofvaccine-preventable illnesses,” Dobbs said. “We’ve actually got anactive outbreak or measles right now in the U.S., and it can causesevere illness and death. We need to vaccinate against that notonly to protect our children but also our communities. We takethese things for granted because vaccinations have been so wildlysuccessful.”

The promotion is held in conjunction with National InfantImmunization Week, an annual observance to highlight the importanceof protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and tocelebrate the achievement of immunization programs in promotinghealthy communities.

“Immunizations are essential to give infants and children a healthystart in life,” said Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.”Statistics show dramatic declines in illnesses and deathsassociated with vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunizations are thebest protection we can offer our children against these oftendeadly diseases.”

Parents interested in getting their children vaccinated free ofcharge can take them to the Lincoln County Health Department onIndustrial Park Drive any day between April 26 and April 30, healthdepartment officials said. To view a list of recommended andrequired childhood vaccines, visit the MSDH website or call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).

“There really are a lot of illnesses out there, some of the thingswe don’t think about,” said Dobbs. “But there are a lot of veryeffective vaccines potent at protecting our kids.”