High rate of vaccinations among KY kids

Feb 4, 2015

 An audit from the Kentucky Immunization Project found most of the children seen at the four health centers of the Northern Kentucky Health Department had received all of the recommended vaccinations. 

95 percent of the children coming through the centers had received all of the recommended immunizations.  District Health Director Dr. Lynne Saddler says most of the remaining five percent received their shots from other providers. 

“There may be a few that have not completed their series yet," Saddler says.  "Or, maybe there are parents who got an exemption for their child, for the remainder of their series, but those are extremely few and far between.”

Saddler says in Kentucky, there are two kinds of exemptions: for medical reasons and for religious beliefs.  She says less than one percent of the children they see have exemptions, and credits the way health care providers present the need for immunizations.

“I know here, for us at the health department when someone wants to claim an exemption we have one of our nurses talk to them about the benefits of being vaccinated, and also talk about the risks of not being vaccinated so that parents can make an informed decision,” Saddler says. 

Having a high vaccination rate means it's less likely there will be a disease outbreak in the area, she says.

Saddler says as a whole, Kentucky's immunization rate is at 78 percent.  The national rate is 73 percent.  Hamilton County Public Health reports a 91 percent immunization rate among children it serves.

The recommended vaccines cover measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, mumps, rubella and polio.