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Monday, December 11, 2023
Dec. 11, 2023

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Parent, child vaccine rates focus of OHSU study

Clark County Public Health urges staying up to date on shots

By , Columbian staff reporter

Children with a parent who received a flu vaccine are nearly twice as likely to be fully vaccinated by 2 years old, compared with children whose parent did not receive a flu vaccine, according to a new study by Oregon Health & Science University.

These findings come as Clark County Public Health officials urge children and adults to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 booster and flu vaccines as the county heads into what may be a particularly harsh flu season. Health officials are also predicting more severe cases of viral respiratory illnesses this fall, with the full-time return to in-person learning following pandemic lockdowns.

In Clark County, routine childhood vaccination rates have declined since 2019, causing some concern for public health officials.

Based on numbers in the Portland metro area, as well as national numbers, many children are under-immunized, Dr. Katie Sharff, chief of infectious disease at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, said last month.

“(Vaccination) is one of the best things we do in medicine,” Clark County Public Health Director Dr. Alan Melnick previously said. “Vaccines are the No. 1 thing that has increased life expectancy.”

Melnick recommends parents who have concerns about vaccines talk with a pediatrician.

OHSU’s new research on the association between parent-child vaccination status aimed to identify factors that contribute to receiving vaccines and how to increase vaccination rates, according to a press release from OHSU.

“We know that there are certain factors that hinder children from receiving routine vaccinations, which puts them at risk of serious illness or even death from diseases, many of which are entirely preventable,” Heather Angier, affiliate assistant professor of family medicine at OHSU School of Medicine, said in the press release. “This research is important because having a deeper understanding of factors that affect this issue, including parents’ beliefs about vaccines and their vaccination status, is key to increasing vaccination rates among children.”

For more information on recommended vaccines, talk to your pediatrician or visit cdc.gov/vaccines. For more information on where to get a flu vaccine or a COVID-19 booster, visit vaccines.gov or contact your health care provider.

Nika Bartoo-Smith: 360-735-4567; nika.bartoo-smith@columbian.com; www.twitter.com/BartooNika

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Columbian staff reporter