N.J. vaccinations fall below national average

According to New Jersey’s Department of Health and Human Services, the state has fallen below the national average childhood vaccination rate of 70 percent in children aged 19 to 35 months.

Sixty-seven percent of New Jersey children in this age range have received the recommended immunizations, New Jersey Newsroom reports. The vaccinations provide protection against conditions like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis, chickenpox and haemophilus influenza B.

Mary O’Dowd, the state’s acting health commissioner, said on Monday that because vaccines have been successful in preventing disease, parents are not always aware that children are at risk for many serious and life-threatening diseases. These vaccine-preventable diseases can still be a threat to children. There were over 8,000 cases of whooping cough last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which resulted in the death of 10 infants.

Worldwide, 100,000 children die of the measles each year. Infants are quite vulnerable to infectious diseases, with over 12,000 born in the United States every day. O’Dowd told New Jersey Newsroom that all infants should be immunized against 14 vaccine preventable diseases before the age of two.

“Vaccines protect individuals, they protect communities, and they enable the medical community to greatly reduce the chances of an outbreak of disease that would become a major health crisis,” O’Dowd said, according to New Jersey Newsroom.