SEATTLE, Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Low rates of meningococcal vaccination among adolescents in Washington has triggered King County Executive Dow Constantine, Neighborcare Health and the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington (IACW) to join forces with the School Nurses Organization of Washington (SNOW) to declare today King County Meningitis Awareness Day. A recent national public health survey shows that meningococcal vaccination rates among adolescents in Washington have increased by nearly 30 percent from 2008 to 2010; however, nearly one-third of adolescents in Washington still have not been vaccinated against meningococcal disease. This is far below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' goal of 80 percent vaccination coverage for this age group.
Meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, may be rare, but it's often devastating and can take the life of an otherwise healthy child in just a single day. Preteens and teens are at greater risk for meningitis than other age groups, and are recommended for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This coalition of local community organizations is lending their support to the National Association of School Nurses' (NASN) Voices of Meningitis campaign, an effort to increase meningitis vaccination rates among preteens and teens in Seattle and King County.
"It is not necessary in this day and age for a child to suffer a disability or lose their life as a result of a vaccine-preventable disease like meningitis," said Cynthia Shurtleff, chair of the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington.
"That's why we strongly encourage parents to get their preteens and teens vaccinated – it is a safe and effective way to help prevent this serious disease," added Janet Cady, pediatric nurse practitioner, assistant medical director, Neighborcare Health.
SOURCE National Association of School Nurses
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