SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - As cases of measles rise in the United States, the Illinois Department of Public Health is taking action to prevent cases of measles and increase vaccination rates.
The department is using direct outreach to communities with low vaccination rates, getting new grants for local health departments and using public education campaigns.
IDPH is providing an additional $3.5 million in grants to local health departments across the state to increase awareness campaigns and help build infrastructure so that it is easier to get vaccinated. With this additional funding:
- Medical grade refrigerators will be purchased to safely store vaccines
- Vaccine and supplies such as syringes, gloves and gauze will be purchased
- Vaccination videos will air in movie theaters showing children’s films in certain areas
According to IDPH, it will deploy Wellness on Wheels mobile units not only to local health departments, but to other organizations across the state. The WOW mobile units can be driven to neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates in an effort to make vaccinations more accessible. They can also be requested for special community events that parents and children often attend like fairs and neighborhood celebrations
IDPH also met with the Illinois Immunization Advisory Council members and stakeholders to discuss the measles outbreaks across the country, as well as the Immunization Action Plan.
IDPH said it launched a social media vaccination education campaign for National Infant Immunization Week. Its preparing additional educational materials for a back-to-school vaccination campaign.
The Department issued guidance to health care providers for measles testing, reporting and prevention. New information was sent to providers on Wednesday, May 15 that summarize current vaccine recommendations, reinforces testing and isolation guidance and encourages facilities to enhance vaccine efforts by focusing on age-appropriate, on-time vaccination of children and high-risk adults.
According to the Department, it will continue to recruit and retain Vaccine for Children health care providers. This is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost for children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.
As of May 10, the Department of Health reported 839 cases of measles that were identified in 23 states.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was eliminated in 2000.
Illinois has had seven reported cases in 2019.