Immunization Awareness Month highlights importance of getting shots

Insider Louisville LogoFor those with young children, back-to-school time often includes a stressful visit to the doctor, where kids and parents deal with the anxiety associated with getting a shot.

Immunizations are required and necessary, and in most cases parents are able to ease their children’s anxiety about shots with promises of lollipops, ice cream or something fun to do, according to a Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville.

There’s no arguing with their effectiveness. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and public health officials are focusing attention on the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Groups that are being targeted include pregnant women, babies and young children, preteens, teens, and adults.

For Kentuckians, immunization certificates are a requirement for children to be admitted to schools, daycare centers and Head Start programs. The first shots are required before children are 5 months old, and continue through the start of 6th grade. For more information from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), please click here.


Kentucky sees nearly 90 cases of whooping cough in last five months of 2015

courier journal logoHealth officials are reminding people to get vaccinated for whooping cough, formally called pertussis, noting that there were 87 cases reported in Kentucky between August and December last year, with the highest concentration of cases occurring in Jefferson County and in Northern Kentucky, according to an article in The Courier-Journal.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria and is transmitted through respiratory droplets from sneezing, coughing, or talking. It can be deadly to infants too young to have been fully vaccinated, so it’s especially important for parents and caregivers of young children to be up-to-date on immunizations.

“It’s important for communities to work together to control the spread of the disease,” Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, senior deputy commissioner at the state health department, told The Courier-Journal.  “Developing community-wide immunity through vaccination is an important strategy for pertussis control. We strongly encourage those who haven’t done so to get an adolescent or adult pertussis booster vaccine.”

More information about whooping cough can be found online at


Children’s Vaccinations Need to Be Updated Before They Head Back to School

‎ilThe waiting rooms at the offices of pediatricians and primary care physicians are most likely filled this month with anxious children, especially those going into kindergarten and 6th grade, the years when students must show proof that they’ve had required vaccines, according to an article posted on Insider Louisville.

In Kentucky, Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) services are mandated by the federal government and provided to all Medicaid-eligible children at specific ages. Because they are considered preventive, there is no cost to the child’s family for these screenings, which include preventive check-ups, growth and development assessments, vision tests, hearing tests, dental checks, immunizations, and laboratory tests.

To read more about this, including information from Dr. Sarah Moyer, interim director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, please click here.


Study: MMR Vaccine not Linked to Autism, Even in High-Risk Kids

According to a Reuters wire service report about a new national study, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is not linked to development of autism spectrum disorders, even among children considered to be at risk. “Even for children who are high-risk, the vaccine does not play a role,” said lead author Dr. Anjali Jain. “We don’t know what does unfortunately, but it’s not the MMR vaccine.” Among nearly 100,000 children studied, receipt of the MMR vaccine did not increase the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), regardless of whether kids were at higher risk because an older sibling already had the condition, researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

A 1998 study that claimed to find a connection between the MMR vaccine and ASD was later debunked. The Lancet, the medical journal that originally published it, withdrew it. Studies continue to vouch for the safety of the vaccine. Still, some people continue to believe that the vaccine is connected to ASD.