Area Vaccinations for Teens Increase

Vaccination rates in Iowa rose between 2017 and ’18, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Don Callaghan,  Bureau chief of the state’s immunization program, says the vaccination rates for Iowa teens exceeded regional and national averages.

Last year, Iowa’s the rate for the Tdap vaccine, which covers diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough rose to 94%. That’s up six-tenths of a point from the previous year and is more than five full points higher than the national average and well above the regional average of 86.6%. The Iowa vaccine rates for human papillomavirus or HPV weren’t as stellar but are also improving.

Some parents don’t want their children vaccinated, which Callaghan says is an unfortunate choice for everyone involved.

He says vaccines have the ability to protect Iowans of all ages from serious and sometimes deadly infectious diseases. It’s state law for children to have certain vaccines before they’ll be allowed to attend public schools.

The state is also doing well on its vaccinations for meningitis, which rose from 83.6% in 2017 to 89.2% in 2018 and was higher than the national (86.6%) and regional (80.9%) rates. Recent disease outbreaks across the country show that while vaccines are vital in preventing disease, he says many parents don’t use the life-saving tools to protect themselves, their families and their communities from preventable diseases.

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