Washington State health officials are alarmed at the lack of data on kids hoping to start school in the fall. With recent whooping cough and measles outbreaks, there's a serious risk to kids, they say. Here's what it means:

Lack of data doesn't mean fewer people are getting vaccinations. It just means county health departments have no idea.

If one's family avoids vaccinations for health, religious or personal reasons, they apply for an exemption. That rate (4.5 percent) has remained steady. Yet more than 15 percent of kids in Washington schools lack vital immunizations and more than 10 percent of incoming Kindergartners have no records.

So what's the problem? If schools and health departments know who's not vaccinated, they can warn families at risk when an outbreak occurs. If schools don't know, they have to either cancel school or treat everyone the same. Both are harmful to kids and their families.

If you've got a kid in school and haven't reported their shots or filed for an exemption, now you know why you should. If you want shots, they're available at most health care providers and don't be nervous if you're afraid of the cost. Just mention it when you set the appointment because various programs can make it free.

 

[SOURCE: Daily Sun News]