Health Department: Pay Attention to Immunizing Infants

APRIL 27, 2004 - Posted at 6:17 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Health department officials say almost 35 percent of Arkansas two-year-olds aren't fully immunized, mainly because parents don't get the final few in a series of 15 injections recommended by that age.

Nationally, a little more than 30 percent of children fall into this category.

Charles Beets, communicable disease/immunization work unit leader for the state Department of Health, says most children missing inoculations lack the fourth dose of the vaccine against diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough.  Only 75 percent of two-year-olds have that fourth dose, while 95 percent have the previous three.

Beets said as infants near two years old, they need fewer vaccinations per visit, perhaps lulling the parents into falsely thinking those shots are less important.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)