Connecticut Will Purchase Enough Vaccine to Inoculate 13,000 Children
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the state’s successful childhood immunization program is getting a big shot in the arm with $2.5 million in stimulus funds, which will buy enough Rotavirus vaccine to inoculate about 13,000 children.
“Childhood immunization makes sense from every perspective,” Governor Rell said. “To build and keep a healthy work force we first must have healthy children, since parents of sick children lose time at work. But more importantly, children who are sick often miss time in school and – in the worst cases –may suffer a lifetime of consequences from preventable diseases.”
Rotavirus can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration in infants and young children. In the United States each year, the virus is responsible for more than 400,000 doctor visits, more than 200,000 emergency room visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations and as many as 60 deaths.
Doctors and other immunization providers can begin ordering the two-dose Rotavirus vaccine for all patients between the ages of 6 weeks and 8 months in their practice, including those with private insurance. The stimulus funds will enable the state to purchase 26,000 doses. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) expects the federally funded supply to last six to 12 months.
The goal of the state’s childhood vaccination program, which is administered by the DPH, is to stop the spread of preventable diseases. Activities include providing vaccine, working with providers to assure that all children in their practice are fully immunized, assuring that children who are in day care, Head Start and schools are adequately immunized and conducting surveillance for vaccine-preventable diseases to evaluate the impact of vaccination efforts and to identify groups that are still at risk.