Atlanta, Ga. (November 1, 2011) – As more than one in 10 parents indicate they do not follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children, the Georgia Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics is hosting an event on November 3, 2011 to address parental concerns and to establish a communication strategy to educate vaccine hesitant or refusing parents about the safety and importance of childhood vaccine.
The day-long event called “Communicate and Vaccinate” comes on the heels of a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that one in four of the parents who do adhere to current guidelines say they still feel that it may not be the best or safest way to immunize youngsters. The goal of “Communicate and Vaccinate” is to help physicians and other allied healthcare professionals and advocates with training to address these issues surrounding vaccine hesitancy.
“In Georgia, we must do everything in our power to increase the vaccination rate of our children. It is a misnomer to think that diseases like Polio and Pertussis have been eradicated, with outbreaks affecting Georgia as recently as 2009,” said Dr. Kathryn Cheek, President of the GA AAP.
As part of “Communicate and Vaccinate,” GA AAP is issuing a fact sheet for allies and partners to use in explaining the safety of immunizations, and the need, regardless of socioeconomic status, to properly utilize these life saving tools.
In Georgia, incidences of Pertussis are on the rise, with 230 cases in 2009, double the 2008 total, leading to one infant death. In 2010, there were 225 cases. In 2008, Georgia was one of 15 states to witness the largest outbreak of measles in the United States in more than 10 years, with 132 cases nationwide.
“Immunizations to prevent these tragedies are widely available,” said Cheek. “These recent studies show that it is more important than ever we educate parents, regardless of income or educational level about the need to properly vaccinate our state’s youngest citizens