JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – The statistics are in and it looks like a bunch of kids in Jackson County are not getting their shots.
The health department says just over half of little kids from a year-and-a-half through 3-years-old are up to date on their vaccines. And, only a third of teenagers from 13-17 have had all their shots. Both those numbers should be close to 90-percent.
Kids getting sick is a normal part of life. But, health officials say a simple shot could save a life.
Immunizations Expert Nikki Meyer said, “vaccine preventable diseases can potentially cause death. There are deaths every year still from hepatitis B, there are deaths every year from diphtheria, maybe not right here, maybe not locally, maybe in other countries, but the diseases are still out there and they still cause death.”
Getting immunizations is simple. But in Jackson, there are signs that this just isn’t happening.
“We have outbreaks of Pertussis . . . which is whooping cough. We have outbreaks of that because people aren’t immunizing against that,” said Meyer.
Since so few children are getting protected, schools are trying to take steps to ensure everyone stays healthy.
Columbia School District Superintendent Dr. Pam Campbell said, “we let them attend school but then there’s a certain cut off where they either have to have a waiver or they have to have their immunizations complete.”
But, health officials say one reason immunizations rates are so low is because so many parents are choosing to skip the shots.
“So, if the parents are against immunizations they can go to the health department for counseling and they can obtain a waiver from the health department,” said Dr. Campbell.
Although the health department recommends everyone to be up to date with immunizations so their kids can live happier, healthier lives.