Governor Blagojevich urges parents to get their children immunized during National Immunization Awareness Month
Thousands of children now able to get immunizations through All Kids; State offers free back-to-school physicals and immunizations in some communities
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged parents to prepare their children for the new school year by getting immunizations. The Governor touted the importance of immunizations as part of National Immunization Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness about immunizations across the life span, from infants to the elderly. The Governor urged parents of uninsured children to enroll their kids in the state’s new All Kids health insurance program, which covers kids’ physical exams and immunizations.
“As parents get their children ready for a new school year, it’s important that they put updating immunizations on the to-do list. And for parents who don’t have health insurance for their kids, now is a good time to enroll your children in All Kids to make sure they can get the check-ups, shots and medical care they will need to stay healthy in the year ahead,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Immunization is one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century according to the Centers for Disease Control. Vaccines have eradicated smallpox, eliminated wild poliovirus in the U.S. and significantly reduced the number of cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella, pertussis and other diseases. By immunizing children at the recommended times, their immune systems have a chance to make protective antibodies that help fight against disease and illness. Children who are not immunized run the risk of being exposed to germs too strong for them to fight.
Proof of immunizations is required for students entering kindergarten, fifth or ninth grade as well as a physical exam. Required immunizations include diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, rubella, mumps, haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis B and varicella. The physical exam includes an evaluation of: height, weight, blood pressure, skin, eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth/dental, cardiovascular (including blood pressure), respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitor-urinary, neurological, musculoskeletal, spinal examinations, nutritional status, lead screening and other evaluations deemed necessary by the examiner.
The March of Dimes recommends every baby born in the U.S. be screened for 29 disorders. With the implementation of cystic fibrosis screening in 2007, Illinois will become one of only six states and the District of Columbia that screens for all 29 disorders. The March of Dimes Newborn Screening Report Card groups states into three categories – red state, which screen for fewer than 10 conditions; yellow states, which screen for 10-20 conditions; and green states, which screen for more than 20 conditions. Illinois is a green state when it comes to the March of Dimes Newborn Screening Report Card.
Now every uninsured child in Illinois should be able to have their immunizations and physical exams covered through the Governor’s All Kids program that makes comprehensive health insurance available to all uninsured children. All Kids covers immunizations, doctor visits, and many other healthcare services such as hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, as well as medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Parents pay monthly premiums and co-payments for a variety of services.
For example, a family with two children that earns between $40,000 and $59,999 a year will pay a $40 monthly premium per child and a $10 co-pay per visit to a physician. A family with two children earning between $60,000 and $79,999 will pay a $70 monthly premium per child and a $15 co-pay per visit to a physician. However, there are no co-pays for preventative care visits, such as annual immunizations and regular check ups, as well as screenings for vision, hearing, appropriate development and preventative dental.
Families can apply for the program by calling 1-866-ALL-KIDS to receive an application form by mail or by visiting www.allkidscovered.com.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the Sangamon County Health Department, is offering free back-to-school physicals and immunizations in the IDPH Wellness on Wheels van at Springfield Urban League Head Start on Thursday, August 17, 2006. Parents can pre-register their children for exams and immunizations by calling Georgia Wilson at the Springfield Urban League at 217-789-0830 located at 1108 E. Cook St. in Springfield. Walk-ins will be allowed if the schedule permits. In order to receive immunizations, parents must bring their children’s records. There will also be a school supplies give-away as well as entertainment for the kids.
IDPH, in conjunction with the Dearborn Homes of the Chicago Housing Authority, is offering free back-to-school physicals and immunizations in the IDPH Wellness on Wheels van on Friday, August 18, 2006 from noon until 3:00 p.m., at Williams Park located at 2900 S. State, in Chicago. Parents must bring their children’s immunization records.
For more information about immunizations you can log onto the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/about/shots.htm.