At no cost, immunizations should be a no-brainer

Along with the various controversies in the news this week — “sexpresso” coffee stands, medical marijuana dispensaries, higher city water rates — here’s a plug for something noncontroversial: immunizations for children before school starts.

That’s right; noncontroversial. Dismiss any worries provoked by obstinate diehards who cling to the myth of a link between vaccines and autism; that’s been thoroughly debunked.

Getting youngsters immunized is a good thing to do for the health of all those kids who soon will pack into classrooms again; it’s the responsible thing for parents to do; in short, it’s a ridiculous thing not to do.

And it’s free.

Any parents who can’t afford a visit to a doctor’s office to get their children up to date on their shots can and definitely should show up at the South Kitsap High School track on Aug. 20 for the district’s Back to School Celebration.

Through a partnership with Harrison Medical Center, the school district will offer free immunizations that day for any and all children who need them.

And more than a handful do; as school district nurse Susan Anderson told the Independent for a story in today’s paper, some years there are hundreds of South Kitsap elementary students who come to school without up-to-date immunizations.

For the 2009-10 school year, Washington state had the highest percentage of kindergartners opting out of some or all immunizations, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a distinction we should work to change, starting Aug. 20 at the Back to School Celebration. Getting all the community’s schoolchildren immunized would certainly be something to celebrate.

(Visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ for information on immunization schedules, vaccines, state requirements, and insurance coverage for immunizations under recent health care reform legislation.)


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