Overall, routine immunization rates have taken a hit since the pandemic started. We understand this has happened for a number of reasons: regular immunizations are not on the forefront of people’s minds, vaccine hesitancy, limited availability of appointments at MD offices, a decline in regular well-child visits, etc. Regardless, we need to get back on track in the state of ND.
Infant MMR rates have declined by 8% and kindergarten MMR uptake has decreased by 2%. Molly Howell, our state immunization director, says she is most concerned over the declining MMR rates since there have already been recent outbreaks of measles in New York state and Washington state. With travel resuming, these highly contagious diseases could make a comeback in areas lacking immunization coverage.
With vaccine exemptions becoming more and more common, parents need to know that if an outbreak should occur within the community or school their child/ren are at risk. If your child is not up to date or exempt from a vaccine to a contagious disease circulating at the school (ie: measles), your child would be excluded from school per Century Code 23-07-17.1. The school as well as this public health unit do keep track of exemptions and which children would be at risk. There are multiple vaccine exemptions in most every grade/class at Kidder County School – so this messaging applies to us.
As sports wind down, the weather gets warmer, and school lets out for summer, consider getting your child/ren up to date on their vaccinations. Kindergarten entry, 7th grade entry, and 16 year olds all have specific immunizations they need if previously up to date. While school is in session, I gladly transport vaccine to the school to immunize older students over their lunch break for those unable to get to the office during regular hours. We are so open to discussing vaccines with anyone, and we gladly offer all required vaccines to all children (insurance or not). Want a slower schedule? Let’s talk! Want to look at the vaccine insert? Super, come on in! Have questions? Give us a call! We’d love to hear from you. 475-2582.