Pam Bogue with the Buena Vista County Public Health says Pneumococcal meningitis kills about three people of every 10 who get it. Bogue says it can also lead to other health problems including deafness and brain damage.
Before the Prevnar vaccine came out, Bogue says infections from it caused about 700 cases of meningitis, 13,000 blood infections, about 5 million ear infections and about 200 deaths every year in the United States in children under the age of five.
As of January 7, 2009, State mandates said Prevnar was required for all children attending a licensed child care center. The vaccine is currently recommended at ages 2 ,4 and 6 months with a booster dose given at 12 to 15 months of age. Bogue says, however, she has learned that there are some children in the community who still need the vaccination and says children who have not received the vaccination will need it before they can enroll in a child care center. "They need to come out and get that taken care of soon," says Bogue. Bogue says one area clinic was able to get a 60 day waiver to help get some of their clients caught up but Bogue says it's still crucial to get children in right away either at the health center or family doctor if they haven't already. BV County Immunization Clinics will begin Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and run every Tuesday and Thursday through December 15. Bogue says immunizations are available at other times but advises calling before coming in if after designated clinic hours. For timelines on when certain immunizations are available contact Bogue.
Getting your child the correct immunizations and at the right time can help prevent illnesses that can have serious side effects or are even life threatening, Bogue says. In the past illnesses like measles could leave a child mentally retarded after they suffered brain damage from measles. A baby could be born blind or deaf after their mother suffered a rubella infection while she was pregnant. However, Bogue says it's easier to prevent against that now. "There are some severe side effects of having these illnesses (if a child is not vaccinated)," says Bogue.
All children must be accompanied by an adult to the clinic. Prescriptions aren't necessary but it's important to bring along an immunization record as well as your Title 19 card. Patients are encouraged to bring $8 for each vaccination to help defray costs, however, Bogue says no one is turned away from inability to pay. Those who are on Hawkeye Insurance or have insurance that covers immunizations must get immunizations at their family doctor's office. Interpreters are available for Spanish speaking clients.
Bogue says if a child may experience some discomfort after a shot so she recommends giving them acetaminophen to help reduce pain or fever. If the child's arm or leg is swollen, red or hot it is recommended to apply a cold washcloth to the area. Bogue says if there is still swelling or tenderness, parents should contact the clinic or doctor.
Books, games and toys are available for children waiting to receive a vaccination as well as a TV with children's shows on IPTV. The resources are available as part of the PBS KIDS Raising Readeres, a national literacy campaign and part of the Ready to Learn Initiative.
"We try to keep to keep them (kids) busy so they're not thinking about what's going on behind the door," she says.
For more information contact the health center at 749-2548.