SEATTLE, Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today kicks off Catch Every Kid, Group Health Foundation's effort to promote childhood immunizations throughout Washington state. The campaign is asking parents to vaccinate their children, encourage discussions with friends and neighbors about the importance of vaccinating children, and to donate to the Foundation so more kids have access to vaccinations.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Chicken Pox, and Pertussis, can be prevented if children under the age of six receive immunizations. Children at the age of 11-14 should receive booster shots to continue the immunity from earlier childhood vaccinations and HPV vaccination to ward off cancer later in life.
"The CDC tells us that rates for vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. have decreased by 99 percent since vaccines were introduced," says Kevin Sullivan, chair of the Foundation board of directors. "However, here in Washington, nearly one third of children miss one or more recommended vaccinations. We're on a mission to close the gap, to catch every kid and make sure no child falls through."
Bartell Drugs and Cliff Avril, a professional football defensive end, have joined with Group Health to promote awareness around childhood vaccinations and provide an easy way for those who wish to donate so that others might also have the same opportunity to receive vaccinations. With any purchase at Bartell Drugs, consumers can now give an Honorary Safety $2 donation at point of purchase. In addition, Group Health and Bartell Drugs provide convenient and affordable access for all to vaccinations through CareClinics.
"Bartell Drugs has been committed to keeping our customer healthy for more than 125 years. We are honored to be a part of this campaign and protecting the children in our communities," says John Lewis, director of CareClinic Operations. "The convenience and value of the clinics, and the professional medical services available through our Group Health certified health providers, are an excellent way for parents in our community to vaccinate their children. With the optional donation at checkout, they can help vaccinate even more children."
One goal of the Group Health Foundation is making childhood immunizations accessible to families who cannot afford them, and helping families understand why it's important to vaccinate. Through donations by individuals in Washington, the Foundation has been able to help nearly 17,000 children receive more than 33,000 vaccines. Equally important, the public has received information vital to understanding the importance of immunizations to the community.
"Vaccines save lives. It's really that simple," says Diana Birkett Rakow, president of the Foundation. "The HPV shot can prevent cancer later in adult life by simply immunizing a pre-teen. Some people think the HPV vaccine is about sex and it's not. It is important for parents to hear the facts whether from their health care provider or their neighbor. We can all be advocates for our children's' health."
According to Rakow, Catch Every Kid is about giving parents, caregivers, and community members a chance to protect the children of Washington. She adds, "Kids trust their parents and caregivers to catch them when they fall; immunization is part of meriting their trust by catching them before they fall."
For more information about Group Health Foundation or to make a donation, please visit http://grouphealthfoundation.org/.
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SOURCE Group Health