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Health Director praises Norwalk student vaccination rates

(Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

NORWALK, Conn. –  A large percentage of Norwalk Public Schools students are immunized against measles, a state study shows.

Nine-tenths of one percent of Norwalk High School students were not vaccinated in 2017-18, as a example. The unvaccinated set is 2% at Brookside Elementary School, 2.7% at Columbus Magnet School and 2.7% at Wolfpit Elementary School.

Percentages at Norwalk’s private schools are comparable, except at Regina Pacis Academy, where 8.6% of the student population isn’t vaccinated, according to the 2017-2018 Connecticut immunization survey.

“I am very pleased that Norwalk has high immunization rates of students. There are many people to thank for this, including parents, health care providers and their staff, and school nurses,” Director of Health Deanne D’Amore said in an email.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been 764 cases of Measles reported nationwide between Jan. 1 and May 3, “the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.”

Connecticut is among the states reporting measles cases to the CDC. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in April issued an emergency health order requiring measles vaccinations due to a large measles outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the New York Times reports.

“{T}here have been 466 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since September,” the CDC states.

“Most people we talk to in the community recognize the overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are the safest and most effective way to prevent illness and even save lives,” D’Amore wrote. “However, in part because vaccines have been so successful, we can sometimes forget the seriousness of these diseases,” she warned. “The current measles outbreaks in different parts of the country have demonstrated how important it is to stay vigilant.”

The 2017-2018 Connecticut immunization survey shows:

  • All Saints Catholic School, 2.5% not vaccinated
  • Anchor Academy, dba Regina Pacis Academy, 8.6% not vaccinated
  • Brien McMahon High School, .5% not vaccinated
  • Brookside Elementary School, 1.4% not vaccinated
  • Columbus Magnet School, 2.7% not vaccinated
  • Cranbury Elementary School, .4% not vaccinated
  • Fox Run Elementary School, .7% not vaccinated
  • High Road School, no information
  • Jefferson Magnet School, 0% not vaccinated
  • Kendall Elementary School, .4% not vaccinated
  • Marvin Elementary School, 1.6% not vaccinated
  • Naramake Elementary School, 2% not vaccinated
  • Nathan Hale Middle School, 1.2% not vaccinated
  • Norwalk Early Childhood Center, 1.3% not vaccinated
  • Norwalk High School, .9% not vaccinated
  • Ponus Ridge Middle School, .1% not vaccinated
  • Roton Middle School, 1% not vaccinated
  • Rowayton School, 1.5% not vaccinated
  • Side by Side Charter School, 1.3% not vaccinated
  • Silvermine Elementary School, .8% not vaccinated
  • Tracey School, .5% not vaccinated
  • West Rocks Middle School, .5% not vaccinated
  • Winston Preparatory School, 1.7% not vaccinated
  • Wolfpit Elementary School, 2.7% not vaccinated

 

 

D’Amore wrote:

“In terms of the role of the Health Department in encouraging immunization, we have several programs and services to promote the importance of immunization at every age. The Norwalk Health Department Immunization Action Plan Program (IAP) staff work very closely with pediatric offices and providers to ensure that all young children are up-to-date with recommended vaccines by their second birthday. Our staff are successful in reaching families and reconnecting them to vaccine services if a child has fallen behind schedule. IAP staff also provide education to medical providers and other community agencies about these important vaccines that save lives. Our staff also visit with new parents in Norwalk Hospital to provide immunization education to them. Recently, a new immunization information system (CT WiZ) has been implemented through the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Our IAP staff have been assisting providers with the transition to the new system.

 

“In addition to this work addressing early childhood, we also promote vaccinations for older children and adults. We offer routine adult and childhood vaccines and travel vaccines at the Norwalk Health Department. Through our partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Vaccine for Children (VFC) Program, we offer free vaccines for eligible patients.”

 

“Several health department staff members—both grant-funded and City funded—are involved in this work,” she explained further. “The IAP program includes two full time and one part time grant-funded employees, who cover Norwalk and several surrounding towns. In addition, two full-time nurses staff our vaccine clinics, in addition to their many other duties here at the Health Department.”

School nurses, who operate under Norwalk Public Schools, are liaisons for health information among parents, the schools, and the community, spreading the news that vaccinations are important, she wrote.

“Vaccines do not cause autism,” D’Amore wrote.  “The scientific community has completely discredited the researcher who made those claims and found that he falsified his data. His ‘research’ was fabricated, but measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases are real, and they can cause serious illness and even death. As a community, we need to make sure outbreaks, needless illness, and even death do not become the norm again, as they were before the availability of vaccines.”

“Measles is a virus that causes fever and a rash. It is highly contagious and anyone who is not vaccinated against the virus can get it at any age,” CDC states. “Although measles is rare in the United States because of high vaccination rates, it is still common in other parts of the world. Measles is common in some countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa and is occasionally brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who return with measles infection.”

One comment

Mitch Adis May 8, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Why is the rate anything but Zero? If you choose not to vaccinate your kids, you should be prohibited from attending public schools. It’s a choice.

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