Spreading awareness about vaccinations

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALL, S.D. (KELO) — Local health professionals are trying to raise awareness about immunizations and boost vaccination rates.

It’s called the Sioux Falls Area Immunization Coalition.

Andrea Polkinghorn started learning about vaccines when she became a new mom in 2007.

“I didn’t know a lot about vaccines at that time and so I went to my daughter’s pediatrician,” Sioux Falls Area Immunization Coalition Chair, Andrea Polkinghorn said.

The doctor encouraged her to get her daughter vaccinated.

Today, the mother is spreading a similar message.

The registered nurse is also the chair of the Sioux Falls Area Immunization Coalition.

“We’ve really transitioned our focus to get out in the community, to increase awareness, and target education to those who need it,” Polkinghorn said.

It’s a timely topic in the Sioux Falls School District too. It’s the expectation that kids will have their shots and shot records when they start school for the year.

“We know that we work with families who have some obstacles to getting their shots completed whether it’s transportation, getting connected to a provider, cost, things like that,” Sioux Falls School District Health Services Coordinator, Molly Satter said.

The district works to connect families with resources to get vaccinations.

Health Services Coordinator Molly Satter is also a member of the coalition.

“Measles has been found as close as Iowa. Locally we’ve had increased cases of pertussis; that’s also known as whooping cough. We just want to make sure, knowing that those things are out there, it’s important to be protected,” Satter said.

That’s why the two women and other health professionals are trying to create awareness.

“The more that we don’t vaccinate the greater chance we have that we could have an outbreak of something. It’s probably just a matter of time,” Polkinghorn said.

Satter says it’s also time to start thinking about getting your flu shot.

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