The latest national survey of states shows that 70 percent of Oklahoma infants and toddlers are up-to-date with the primary series of vaccines, but Oklahoma ranks at the very bottom for the percentage of babies who receive their first dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine) on time at two months of age.
“It is critical that infants receive their baby shots on time, because they do not have any protection against these diseases until they are vaccinated,” said Bobbie Nubine, chief of Immunization Service for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The DTaP vaccine protects against whooping cough (pertussis). More than 600 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the State of Washington just this year. This follows an outbreak in California in 2010, which charted more than 9,000 whooping cough cases and nine deaths in infants.
Whooping cough is especially dangerous for babies. One out of every 100 babies who gets whooping cough will die from it. Babies can get whooping cough from adults and other family members. Whooping cough can also cause pneumonia, convulsions or encephalopathy, a disease of the brain. On-time vaccination of babies with DTaP vaccine and vaccination of family members, pre-teens, parents, and grandparents with one dose of DTaP vaccine is the best protection for babies.
Oklahoma’s immunization coalitions want parents to know that vaccines are due at two, four, six, and 12 to 15 months of age. “National Infant Immunization Week reminds us that new babies need the protection vaccines provide,” said Nubine. “A baby’s first immunization visit should be scheduled at two months of age. We encourage parents to talk to their doctor or visit their local county health department to make sure their baby is up-to-date on immunizations.”