Health department reports dropping rates of school immunizations in North Dakota
Health professionals are reminding parents and caregivers to make sure children are up to date on recommended immunizations for the next school year.
BISMARCK — As another school year wraps up, making immunization appointments now will ensure that your child is ready for the upcoming school year.
Due to COVID-19, non-medical exemptions and non-compliances, the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services found that North Dakota K-12 school immunization rates were dropping.
For example, statewide kindergarten immunization rates were 91.62% for DTaP, 91.76% for polio, 93.53% for hepatitis B, 91.83% for MMR and 91.29% for chickenpox.
This caused outbreaks in schools, unnecessary illnesses and missed days of learning.
"If for instance, there was a kid who is in kindergarten and now is like in (first) or second grade and is still behind on one of the shots, we, schools will recall them or remind their parents," says Danni Pinnick, HHS immunization surveillance coordinator.
The North Dakota Health and Human Services wants immunizations appointments to be an easy and convenient process.
In order to make things easier, the department will send out reminders to guardians, consistently communicate with schools, and some health professionals will also work with schools to get students vaccinated.
"There are lots of locations in North Dakota where public health or even sometimes pediatrics clinics will go to schools and have immunization nights," Pinnick said.