More parents choosing not to vaccinate, especially in Utah County

30 April 2015 Written by  

More Utah parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children and so it is not surprising that we are seeing a rise in vaccine-preventable diseases. Utah county is of particular concern because a large number of children reside there and vaccination rates are low. Of Utah County schools, 43% are under-vaccinated.  In comparison, only 14% of schools in Salt Lake County are under-vaccinated. Vaccination is required before Kindergarten and 7th grade, but Utah parents may claim exemptions for personal, medical or religious reasons; 95% of exemptions are for personal reasons.

When people are immunized, they do not spread disease to others such as infants who are too young to be vaccinated and children with health issues that preclude vaccination.  These vulnerable children depend on those around them to keep them safe from disease. 

For the first time, Meningitis A will be included among the requisite vaccines for Utah 7th graders during the upcoming school year. Meningitis kills 10-15% of the people infected and many other victims suffer serious consequences, such as the loss of limbs, nervous system problems, deafness, brain damage and seizures or strokes. While Meningitis B vaccine is not required for school entry, ask your doctor for both vaccines and keep your teens safe from this deadly disease.

immunizations

April Young Bennett 300April Young Bennett, Communications Director, joined the organization in 2014. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor in Community Health Education from Utah State University. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, April worked for the Utah Department of Health for over a decade, addressing health disparities among minorities and other underserved Utahns. She completed internships and fellowships with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the U.S. Senate.