We may joke about the ‘life saving’ tetanus administered in the trauma bay, but what’s the real impact of vaccinations in the Emergency Department? Recent data from the Arizona Department of Health Services states vaccine exemptions are up for the second year in a row, that means 5.5% of six graders and kindergarteners have personal belief exemptions for at least 1 school required vaccine. Jessica Rigler with Arizona Department of Health Services puts these stats into perspective, “We like to see 95 percent coverage rates or above for these vaccines, and that’s what’s really going to protect a community from a disease getting in.” (1)
What communities are at the highest risk in Arizona? Surprisingly, children in Arizona public schools who qualify for free and reduced lunch have the highest rates of vaccination completion whereas people in higher income areas are more likely to exempt their children. (1) Conversely in rural areas of Coconino and Yavapai counties exemption rates can be as high as 14%. (1)
Notably, in Arizona, parents are not required to give a reason for not vaccinating their children (1), so consider a quick question regarding vaccination status to get parents thinking. For pediatric patients that you might see in the in the Peds ED or the Burn Center, a flu shot or a Tdap booster might indeed be a life-saving intervention. A well-timed, especially strong recommendation from a healthcare provider may be the difference in preventing a life-threatening infection.
- Stone, W. (2018, August 01). More Arizona Parents Opting Out Of Vaccines. Retrieved November 24, 2018, from https://kjzz.org/content/678455/more-arizona-parents-opting-out-vaccines