Public Health and Human Services promotes Immunization Week

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COLUMBIA – This week is National Infant Immunization Week, and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is using it to promote vaccinations and educate parents.

Andrea Waner, the department’s public information officer, takes her 20-week-old son to get vaccines every two months, following the state of Missouri’s vaccine schedule. She said vaccines are an easy way to help public health.

“Vaccines are safe and effective, and they’re easily one of the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available that we have to prevent disease,” Waner said.

Waner said some parents have concerns about immunizing their children. According to her, the main concern is giving children too many vaccines at once.

“We have nurses that are trained to be able to have those conversations with parents and talk them through the decision to get their child vaccinated,” Waner said. “We want to be a trusted resource for those parents.”

Last year, KOMU 8 News conducted a survey about people's thoughts on immunization. Joyce Riley, a vaccination opponent, said vaccines made her sick in the past.

"I have educated myself on vaccines to where I say I will never take another vaccine as long as I live," Riley said.

Waner said there are many resources in Boone County for parents to learn about immunization. She highlighted a program that provides free flu shots for children six months to 18 years at participating schools.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has celebrated infant immunization week since 1994. According to its website, the CDC has worked with local and state health departments, health care professionals, immunization partners and community leaders across the country to educate parents about protecting their children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Columbia's Public Health and Human Services Department is using Twitter and Facebook to spread information and raise awareness of immunization week.