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Vaccines save lives. Getting all of the recommended immunizations is one of the most effective ways to protect children and adults from getting very sick. Recent outbreaks of diseases in Washington have resulted in very young children being hospitalized and even dying. If everyone gets the right immunizations at the right time, it will help keep our communities healthy.
Note on data sources: The Department of Health recently changed how this indicator was measured from national survey data to the Washington Immunization Information System (IIS). The IIS allows for more timely data that is available at the county level, although immunization coverage measured in the IIS is slightly lower than that reported in national surveys. The 2018 target was also updated.
In 2016, according to IIS data about 59.5% of children under age three got all of the immunizations they needed.
It takes four steps for children to get all of their immunizations on time. We work on all of these steps:
- The child must get to a provider. We send Child Profile newsletters to every parent with a child under age six (that's about 470,000 children). These newsletters provide age-specific information about health and safety, including immunization reminders. Child Profile reaches 90% of Washington families with a child under age six.
- The provider must be ready to vaccinate. We buy millions of doses of vaccines for all kids up to 19 years old. These vaccines are distributed to healthcare providers across Washington.
- The parent has to agree to vaccinate. We work with a group called Vax Northwest to develop tools for healthcare providers to use when talking to parents about immunizations.
- Each dose provided needs to be recorded in the child's record. We visit healthcare providers to make sure they are following all of the best practices around vaccine ordering and handling.