Health Officials: Declining Childhood Immunizations 'Greater Threat Than COVID-19'

Health Officials: Declining Childhood Immunizations ‘Greater Threat Than COVID-19’

Kane County health officials have launched a campaign called “I PROTECT” to alert parents about the value of getting children and teens vaccinated.

According to a Kane County Health Department news release, health organizations across the suburban Chicago counties have joined forces to promote the campaign following a warning from the World Health Organization that declining childhood vaccination could pose “a threat greater than COVID-19 itself.”

A recent study found that only 55 percent of children in Illinois are up to date on their childhood vaccinations, which ranks Illinois 18th lowest in the nation.

Kane County health officials say parents have the power to protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases through vaccinations.

The news release said accine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly — especially in infants and young children.

The I PROTECT campaign was created by the Kane County Health Department through a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health in partnership with health organizations including Kane, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, Kankakee, Kendall and Grundy counties.

Focus groups of parents throughout the region provided feedback on vaccination hesitancy and concerns.

“We are proud to be part of the I PROTECT coalition,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers. “We are helping to educate parents on the facts around vaccinations in an effort to help them make an informed decision to protect their child’s future.”

The three-year campaign takes the approach that before your child is even born, it’s natural to think about any and all potential risks they may face, and what safeguards can be put in place to prevent those risks from becoming a reality.

“From making sure you have the safest car seat to child proofing your home in preparation for their arrival, buying the right bicycle helmet to updating your home internet’s parental controls — there’s a lot parents can do to help give themselves peace of mind,” the news release said.

Digital advertising, videos, social media messages, posters and newsletters will direct parents to a dedicated website with more information on immunization facts at www.IProtectIL.com. Materials will be available in both English and Spanish.

SOURCE: Kane County Health Department news release