Colorado Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien has joined experts at The Children’s Hospital to help build awareness about the importance of easily accessible and timely immunizations for all of Colorado’s children.
Colorado’s immunization rate is improving, and the Lt. Governor and The Children’s Hospital are committed to increasing further our immunization rates for the safety and wellbeing of our children. After consistently ranking in the bottom half in the United States (50th in 2002 and 2003), Colorado has moved up to be among the top 20 states according to the latest statistics in the 2005 National Immunization Survey.
"Even though our vaccination rates are improving, we still lag behind the national goal of ensuring that at least 90 percent of all two-year-olds receive the recommended series of vaccinations," said Dr. James K. Todd, medical director of Epidemiology and Infection Control at The Children’s Hospital and co-author of the State of the Health of Colorado’s Children. "Although requiring vaccinations prior to school entry ensures that most school-aged children are ultimately protected, most vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications occur prior to school age."
According to the report "Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Colorado’s Children, 2006," written by Dr. Todd and Carl Armon, MSPH, Colorado’s vaccination rate was only 83.4 percent in 2005.
"Ensuring the health and wellness of our children is a top priority for our administration," said Lt. Governor O’Brien. "Making sure our kids are immunized goes a long way toward preventing childhood illnesses, and it lets our children focus on learning, growing and just being kids."
In Governor Ritter’s inaugural State of the State address, he charged Lt. Governor O’Brien with raising the immunization rate for Colorado’s children. The Lt. Governor has begun studying the issues around immunizations - ranging from the economics of purchasing vaccines, to the delivery of vaccines and raising awareness among parents regarding their children’s health needs. Additional points stressed by Dr. Todd during the press conference include the following:
* There is clear evidence in Colorado of the safety and efficacy of vaccines in preventing many severe childhood illnesses.