2019 School Immunization Report Released by Polk Co. Health Dept.

(Submitted by the Polk County Health Department)

Health Department Releases the 2019 School Immunization Reports

(Des Moines, IA) – The Polk County Health Department has released the 2019 edition of the Polk County School Immunization Reports. These reports contain information from immunization audits conducted in 150 public and non-public schools within Polk County between October – December 2019.

“Our school immunization reports show that overall our immunization rates remain high,” said Helen Eddy, Polk County Health Department Director. “However, the number of religious exemption certificates are increasing at a concerning rate. In comparison with 2018, the number of students receiving this type of immunization exemption has grown 13.5% from 2018 to 2019.”

When children are not fully vaccinated, it can impact the health, well-being and financial success of our community. Children who are not fully vaccinated will miss a significant number of days of school if exposed.  School performance is impacted and our children are not as successful as they could be. For example, if your under-vaccinated child was exposed to measles, they will be kept at home for 21 days. Parents and caregivers of under-vaccinated, exposed children will miss significant numbers of work days, which, for some parents may exhaust personal time off. A parent or caregiver of an under-vaccinated child exposed to measles will miss work for 21 days. A parent or caregiver of a child with measles will miss work for at least 9 days. Businesses will also suffer productivity and financial losses due to absent employees as they are caring for their sick or exposed child.

“Immunizations not only help protect preteens and teens from contracting the disease, but also their siblings, friends and the people who care for them such as their parents or grandparents,” said Eddy.  “Vaccines protect the health of the community.”

The Polk County Immunization Reports highlight the number of immunization exemptions and certificates of students enrolled in Polk County schools and the level of risk by schools in case of an immunization-preventable disease outbreak. They also provide an overview of immunization trends among districts and schools in the county.

These reports also provide a series of recommendations for schools that can be put in practice to minimize potential risk of outbreaks. These recommendations include promoting immunization among employees, encouraging families to immunize their children, promoting methods to decrease transmission, shortening the time for children who have begun vaccinations to complete them and promoting monitoring for outbreaks.

The 2019 Polk County School Immunization Reports can be found at: https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health/reports-data/school-immunization-reports/school-year-2019/