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Vaccines are not just for kids

New immunization requirements being implemented in Illinois

8/6/2014, 5:59 p.m.
Immunizations are one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th Century according to the Centers for Disease ...

Immunizations are one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th Century according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During August, National Immunization Awareness Month, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck 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,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “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. Illinois has undertaken several initiatives that have contributed to increased HPV vaccination coverage, such as working with health care partners to discuss and facilitate HPV vaccination health promotion activities and interventions, providing physician HPV vaccination training, and conducting provider assessment and feedback visits focused on increasing vaccination coverage.

To help prevent illness and outbreaks due to vaccine-preventable diseases, Illinois is implementing new immunization requirements for the 2014-2015 school year. Beginning this year, children entering school at any grade level (kindergarten through 12) 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, 2015-2016, 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. More information about immunizations, including vaccination schedules, visit www.idph.state.il.us/about/shots.htm.