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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: June __ 2004
Contact: (Administrative Director)
________ County Health Department
(Phone)

County Health Departments Promote “Immunize for Healthy Lives”
Back-to-School Immunization Drive Starts This Month

“The _____ County Health Department needs your help to improve childhood immunization rates in Oklahoma. Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning for your children’s back-to-school needs, especially their vaccinations,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____.

“Immunize for Healthy Lives” is the message being used to launch a public education campaign to improve childhood vaccinations. The Oklahoma State Department of Health, McDonald’s, and the Oklahoma Caring Van are joining county health departments and local Immunization Coalitions to launch a back-to-school immunization drive. The goal is to increase the number of children fully immunized in Oklahoma.

The campaign will feature Oklahoma’s First Lady Kim Henry in public service announcements and news articles that encourage parents to stay on schedule with their children’s immunizations.

Staying on schedule with immunizations, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, is the best defense against dangerous childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough. Immunization field staff will be reminding parents to get their children immunized through telephone callbacks, written reminders and by visiting day care centers to help get the message out to parents.

Participating Oklahoma McDonald’s restaurants will be providing immunization information to their customers on tray liners and bag stuffers. McDonald’s will also offer a flyer or immunization schedule placemat during the campaign. In addition, McDonald’s will provide Oklahoma’s participating doctors’ offices and county health departments with coupons good for free “Apple Dippers” to reward children for getting immunized. Apple Dippers are a new product at McDonald’s featuring slices of fresh apples with a low-fat caramel dipping sauce.

The Caring Van, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, will assist by setting up special immunization clinics to encourage parents to get their children immunized. The Caring Vans are based out of Oklahoma City and Tulsa and have the flexibility of providing on-site immunizations for child care centers, schools and other facilities across the state. Clinics scheduled in this area are: __________, __________, and __________.

“I hope all parents and caregivers will join us in our efforts to protect the health of children and immunize their children against 11 preventable dangerous diseases,” _____ said.

The following immunizations are required 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, through sixth grade 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 seventh and eighth grades should have received everything the K-6th grade children have received except for the varicella vaccine. Seventh and eighth grade children may receive two or three doses of hepatitis B vaccine (depending on type of vaccine).
  • Children entering the 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.

In addition, beginning this fall, first-time college enrollees who plan to live on campus will be required to get a meningitis vaccination.

For more information about childhood immunizations, or to find out about the meningitis vaccination for college students, call the _____County Health Department at (phone number).

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