Some Parents Late on Immunizations

Some Parents Late on Immunizations
By: Wendy Ray

Many moms and dads watch their child's immunization chart closely to make sure they don't miss a shot,

but a new study suggests some parents are doing just the opposite. The study finds many of America's children aren't getting the shots they need in their youngest years. The immunization coordinator at a local health department says putting off those shots can pose a risk

Five year old James Benson is about to get four shots. He's not too happy about it, but his mom is glad. "I'd rather him get the shots and not risk him getting diseases. I think they are safe enough that everyone should get them," his mom Kirsten says.

Kirsten always makes sure James and her other children are on right on schedule to get their immunizations. Carol Jordan is the immunization coordinator for the Cape County Health Department. She says almost all parents are just like Kirsten. "About 94 percent of children we see at the health department or in our rural health clinics, get their shots and are up to date by the time they're two," Jordan says.

There's a long list of shots to get by the time a child turns two, 18 to be exact. It's a lot for parents to remember and a new study in the Journal of the Medical Association shows that not every parent does. Researchers found more than one in three babies are being under-vaccinated for more than six months during their first two years of life. Jordan says the delays put youngsters at risk for a variety of vaccine-preventable diseases. "There are still cases of pertussis, diphtheria, you don't hear about those things on a routine basis, but they're still out there," Jordan says.

Jordan adds parents who don't immunize their child on time should remember they're not only putting their child's health in danger, but other children as well. She encourages parents to get their child in on time for his shots. "We may send reminder calls or call if they miss an appointment," Jordan says. Researchers say children who live in a house with multiple children or those who go to more than one place for their vaccinations are more likely to be late in getting their shots.