MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Conversations about childhood immunization urged by "It's OK to Ask"

A new Health Department program called "It's OK to Ask" gives parents in Vermont a safe place to turn and urges them to ask questions about immunization.

A recent debate about immunization has risen among new parents about the benefits of immunization. Some argue that it is no longer needed and others point to some studies that suggest immunization could be harmful.

The recent campaign "It's OK to Ask" looks to give parents a reliable source of information for their questions about immunization. The campaign's website gives resources to parents so they can make informed decisions on vaccinations.

"We know parents want to protect their children but have questions about vaccines," Health Commissioner Harry Chen said. "And the Health Department wants to see as many children who can be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases have that opportunity. We hope that this effort will help parents, and all of us, succeed in protecting and improving the health of generations of Vermonters."

Parents are always free to choose if they will vaccinate their children, however, the site looks to inform parents that their choice will also affect other children. They are doing this by linking the site through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to promote conversation among parents and see just how linked everyone is when it comes to public health.

"Increasing the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated according to the recommended schedule is a top priority of Healthy Vermonters 2020, our state's public health goals for the decade," Chen said. "We are excited to bring the priorities of parents and public health together in this innovative campaign."