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For Release:  April 17, 2012 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

Oklahoma Infants Missing Crucial First Vaccinations
Immunization Coalitions Plan Events for National Infant Immunization Week April 21-28

As Oklahoma immunization coalitions prepare to join hundreds of communities across the United States and around the world to acknowledge the crucial role vaccines play in protecting infants from infectious diseases, Oklahoma babies remain 50th in the nation in getting their first critical vaccination on time at 2 months of age.

The latest national survey of states shows that 70 percent of Oklahoma infants and toddlers are up-to-date with the primary series of vaccines, but Oklahoma ranks at the very bottom for the percentage of babies who receive their first dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine) on time at 2 months of age.  

“It is critical that infants receive their baby shots on time, because they do not have any protection against these diseases until they are vaccinated,” said Bobbie Nubine, chief of Immunization Service for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The DTaP vaccine protects against whooping cough (pertussis). More than 600 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the State of Washington just this year. This follows an outbreak in California in 2010, which charted more than 9,000 whooping cough cases and nine deaths in infants. 

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for babies. One out of every 100 babies who gets whooping cough will die from it.  Babies can get whooping cough from adults and other family members. Whooping cough can also cause pneumonia, convulsions or encephalopathy, a disease of the brain. On-time vaccination of babies with DTaP vaccine and vaccination of family members, pre-teens, parents, and grandparents with one dose of Tdap vaccine is the best protection for babies.

Oklahoma’s immunization coalitions want parents to know that vaccines are due at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months of age.  Two Oklahoma coalitions are planning special events during National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28, to remind parents of the importance of vaccines.

  • On Saturday, April 21, Bee Wise Immunize will take place at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum at 3624 N.74th East Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  This is an immunization event for the whole community. Infant, child, and teen immunizations will be available. The Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority bus service has a Saturday bus route to the front door of the museum so it will be convenient for those who need a ride.  A parent or legal guardian must accompany children and bring the child’s current immunization record. Children who receive immunizations at Bee Wise Immunize will receive free admission to the museum on that day plus admission for two accompanying family members.  This event is sponsored by Tulsa Area Rotary Clubs, the Tulsa Area Immunization Coalition, the Tulsa Health Department, and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. For more information, call (918) 595-4514. 
  • On Thursday, April 26, the Cleveland County Immunization Coalition will host an open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Norman Regional Healthplex at 3300 Healthplex Parkway. All members of the community are invited to attend and learn how the coalition promotes immunizations in Cleveland County.  For more information, call Megan Scott at (405) 579-2252.

National Infant Immunization Week reminds us that new babies need the protection vaccines provide,” said Nubine. “A baby’s first immunization visit should be scheduled at 2 months of age. We encourage parents to talk to their doctor or visit their local county health department to make sure their baby is up-to-date on immunizations.”

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