Catch Up Washtenaw: Don’t Wait, Vaccinate!

Two young girls sitting at a desk at school

This article was posted on The Manchester Mirror. Read the full article here.

Vaccination rates among local kids have fallen. This leaves children and our community at risk for preventable diseases and outbreaks. Washtenaw County Health Department is offering two vaccination events to catch kids up before they start school, preschool, or daycare. Recommended vaccinations must be completed (or waived) before school registration.

Call (734) 544-6700 to schedule for Tuesday, August 8, from 9am to 3:30pm, or Tuesday, August 15, from 9am to 6:30pm. Spanish and French interpreters will be available for appointments after 4pm on August 15. Telephone interpretation for multiple languages is always available. Health Department clinical services are located at 555 Towner St in Ypsilanti.

“As the school year approaches, it may be hard to get a timely vaccination appointment,” says Jane Nickert, RN, nursing director at Washtenaw County Health Department. “We want to make sure as many kids as possible are up to date on their vaccines and ready to start school or childcare.”

Vaccination is also widely available with area heath care providers or pharmacies. Families with a regular health care provider or pediatrician can schedule with their doctor.

The Health Department accepts Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Individuals are not refused services if unable to pay.

If transportation is needed to the Health Department or another vaccination location, the Vaccinate Washtenaw program provides free rides to medical appointments that include vaccination. Call (844) 900-4892 and use the code “Vaccinate Washtenaw.”

In Michigan, the number of toddlers current on their vaccinations has fallen by about 5% in the last two years, which leaves roughly 52,000 children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable illnesses like mumps, measles, chicken pox, polio, and diphtheria.

In Washtenaw, the percentage of toddlers (19–35 months) current on their recommended vaccinations has dropped about 4% from 2019–2022. Among adolescents 13–19 years in Washtenaw, coverage is down 9%.

“High rates of vaccination protect everyone,” says Nickert. “We don’t want to see young children or their families seriously ill with anything a vaccine can prevent or make less severe.”

Consistent community support for routine vaccination is critical — perhaps more than ever. Take time to encourage vaccination and make sure everyone in Washtenaw catches up as soon as possible. This is especially important when families have doubts about the recommended schedules, the importance of catching up, or vaccinating kids with special health conditions.

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I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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