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FOR RELEASE: June 29, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Work with Child Care Centers to Improve Vaccination Compliance

Outreach and monitoring efforts with child care providers and parents of children who attend child care have helped improve vaccination compliance by Oklahoma’s child care centers, Oklahoma State Department of Health officials report.

Immunization record reviews occurring from January to June 2003 revealed that of the 221 child care centers visited by Immunization Field Consultants, nearly two-thirds required follow-up intervention by having fewer than 80 percent of their children up-to-date on shots. Revisits were made for centers falling below 80 percent of up-to-date immunization records. The goal of 100 percent compliance with immunization state requirements was met by 18 centers. Most of the 118 child care centers revisited improved to at least 80 percent up-to-date or better with immunizations. Only 16 child care centers had comprehensive vaccine protection levels below 80 percent.

Some of the methods used to raise vaccination compliance are:

  • a review of the records on file,
  • a determination of individual age-appropriate immunization levels,
  • follow-up with children below the proper compliance levels,
  • personal reminders and letters to parents from the child care centers about immunizations required by state law,
  • training for child care staff, and
  • on-site clinics at child care centers courtesy of the Oklahoma Caring Van.

“These interventions are part of an ongoing process to improve Oklahoma’s immunization coverage of children,” says Don Blose, chief of the Oklahoma State Department of Health Immunization Service. “ Our role is to provide assistance in improving vaccine protection levels. The center operators realize we’re there to help and have been very cooperative in working with us.”

Many children were found to be behind on immunizations because of national shortages of vaccines between June 2001 and December 2002. However, Blose says that supplies of all vaccines required by state child care and school law are adequate for catch-up and routine immunizations.

“While in 2003, Oklahoma was ranked 48th in immunization coverage, the success of these and other efforts should raise the protection level of our children against vaccine preventable diseases,” Blose said.

The regulatory authority for enforcing child care immunization law resides with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. There were 1,917 licensed child care centers and 4,568 licensed child care homes in Oklahoma as of 2003.

For parents who are uncertain what immunizations their children may need to attend child care, the schedule is:

  • Birth - Hepatitis B
  • Age 2 months - Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae B, Pneumococcal Conjugate
  • Age 4 months - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae B, Pneumococcal Conjugate
  • Age 6 months - Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus Influenzae B, Pneumococcal Conjugate
  • Age 12 months - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenzae B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, Pneumococcal Conjugate
  • Age 2 years - Hepatitis A
  • Age 2 years and 6 months - Hepatitis A

For more information about childhood immunizations, contact your doctor or local county health department.

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