The Oklahoma State Department of Health recently announced that Oklahoma children are among the nation’s best protected children against vaccine-preventable diseases.  

 


The Oklahoma State Department of Health recently announced that Oklahoma children are among the nation’s best protected children against vaccine-preventable diseases. 

 

According to the National Immunization Survey released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma’s child immunization ranking improved in nearly every category, including a second-best in the nation for hepatitis A. For most other vaccines, Oklahoma was generally in the top 25 states nationally.

 

Carter County Health Department Administrative Director Mendy Spohn said vaccinating children against preventable diseases is one of the most important ways parents and caregivers can protect their children. 

 

All states showed decreases in coverage rates for 2009 due to national shortages of Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine that have now been resolved. The Hib vaccine plays an important role in preventing children from developing a serious type of bacterial meningitis.

 

 “While it is good news for Oklahomans that our standing has greatly improved, we know that many children were not fully protected due to the Hib vaccine shortage,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline said. “We have an even better opportunity to more fully protect our children and communities against disease this year by building on last year’s track record.”

 

The percent of Oklahoma children fully protected against 10 deadly diseases dropped slightly from 71.7 percent in 2008 to 70.2 percent in 2009. Yet, only 15 states had a higher proportion of children covered in 2009 than Oklahoma.

 

 “Vaccines are safe, effective and remain the best form of defense against many deadly diseases. Parents who refuse vaccines for their child are taking a risk, one with devastating consequences, not only for their child but also for others in the community,” Cline said. “I strongly encourage parents who have questions or concerns about vaccines to consult with their health care provider.”