Los Angeles raising vaccination awareness to fight whooping cough

Health care officials with the Eastmont Community Center in Los Angeles have launched a new adolescent immunization awareness initiative in response to low whooping cough and meningococcal meningitis immunization rates among Latino adolescents.

Teresa Palacios, acting executive director of Eastmont Community Center, said that the grassroots campaign aims to educated Latino families about free or low-cost vaccines that are available to help protect children against these diseases.

The campaign, called Vacune a Sus Hijos Adolescentes, or Get Your Teens Vaccinated, will inform parents that vaccination is more important than ever in light of the statewide whooping cough epidemic.

Palacios said the campaign will encourage parents to contact their local public health department to learn if their children qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program.  Under this program, children can receive free or low-cost vaccines.

“We will reach parents with these important messages in every possible way,” Palacios said. “We want to make sure L.A. families know that their children may qualify for the VFC program, so that they can get their children vaccinated.”

Palacios also announced that Dr. Aliza Lifshitz, the nationally recognized health expert and medical correspondent for multiple Hispanic news programs, is serving as the campaign's featured health educator and spokesperson.

Dr. Aliza, who is known to millions of Latina women as a trusted source for medical information, said she is proud to be able to take part in this campaign.

“The fact that only half of our teens get vaccinated against infectious diseases is alarming,” Aliza said. “Since children through 18 years of age in Los Angeles may qualify for these free or low-cost vaccines, parents should not delay getting their children vaccinated.”