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FOR RELEASE: July 17, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Oklahoma Health Department and McDonald’s Kick Off Efforts to Immunize Children

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and McDonald’s will kick off a back-to-school children’s immunization drive this month to help keep all children healthy. The public education campaign, "Immunize for Healthy Lives,” will feature public service announcements and news articles that encourage parents to stay on schedule with their children’s immunizations. This is the second year the campaign has been conducted in Oklahoma.

"Staying on schedule with immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the state health department, is the best defense against dangerous childhood diseases. More than one in four Oklahoma infants are not fully protected,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch.

Participating Oklahoma McDonald’s restaurants will be providing immunization information to their customers. McDonald’s will be asking people to come in the restaurants and pick up a flyer or placemat during the campaign to receive a free immunization schedule with vaccination locations.

McDonald’s will also provide Oklahoma’s county health departments with coupons good for a free ice cream cone to reward children for getting immunized.

"Without immunizations, children may catch diseases that cause heart defects, mental retardation, and pneumonia. Children that do not get immunized are at greater risk of becoming crippled, deaf or blind because of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease. I hope all parents and caregivers take the time to follow up on getting their children immunized,” Beitsch said.

The AAP and OSDH recommend the following immunization requirements for children entering day care or school:

  • Children entering day care should have age-appropriate immunizations such as two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, with the first dose on or after the second birthday, and the second dose 6 to 18 months later; three doses of hepatitis B vaccine; and one dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine given on or after the first birthday, or a parent’s statement of a history of the disease (chickenpox) will be accepted instead of vaccination. Other vaccines required for day care attendance based upon the child’s age include MMR (measles, mumps, rubella); DTaP or DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis); polio; and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).
  • Children entering pre-school should have received four doses of DTaP or DTP; three doses of polio vaccine; one dose of MMR; three doses of hepatitis B; two doses of hepatitis A; and one dose of varicella or a statement of history of the disease.
  • Children entering kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grades should have received five doses of DTaP/DTP (or four doses if the 4th dose was given on or after 4th birthday); four doses of polio vaccine (or three doses if the 3rd dose was given on or after the 4th birthday); two doses of MMR; three doses of hepatitis B; two doses of hepatitis A; and one dose of varicella or a statement of history of the disease (chickenpox).
  • Children entering sixth and seventh grades should have received five doses of DTaP/DTP (or four doses if the 4th dose was given on or after the 4th birthday); four doses of polio vaccine (or three doses if the 3rd dose was given on or after the 4th birthday); and two doses of MMR. Seventh grade children should also receive two or three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (depending on type of vaccine), and two doses of hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Children entering the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades should have received three doses of DTP; three doses of polio; two doses of MMR; two or three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (depending on type of vaccine); and, two doses of hepatitis A vaccine.

Other “Immunize for Healthy Lives” campaign partners include the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and Oklahoma’s immunization coalitions. For more information on children’s immunizations, call the county health department in your area or your health care provider.

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