Clinics honored for child immunization efforts

Clinics across South Dakota are being recognized by the Department of Health for helping the state achieve an 86.9 percent immunization rate among the state's two-year-olds.

"Our goal is to reach a 90 percent immunization rate by the year 2020 and thanks to the hard work of our vaccine providers, that goal is definitely in reach," said Bonnie Jameson, disease prevention administrator for the department. "It's only fitting that we honor the clinics that are so committed to protecting our infants and preschoolers from pertussis, diphtheria, measles and other serious vaccine-preventable diseases."

Jameson said the department presented awards to those clinics that have achieved a 90 percent or higher vaccination rate of their 24 to 35-month-old patient populations. Awards were presented at recent luncheons in Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

The 86.9 percent immunization rate is according to the latest assessment of immunization coverage levels by the state's electronic South Dakota Immunization Information System (SDIIS). Age appropriate immunization for the 24 to 35 month-old age group is defined as four doses of diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine, three doses of polio vaccine, one dose of measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, three doses of hepatitis B vaccine, and three doses of haemophilus influenzae B vaccine.

SDIIS lets the Department of Health track immunization rates statewide, but it also lets local clinics check their own records and use the follow-up and reminder system to increase rates. Currently, 263 clinics statewide participate in SDIIS, as well as four Indian Health Service facilities, 220 schools, universities, tribal colleges and Head Start facilities. The system includes over 700,000 patient records with more than 6,500,000 individual shots.

Increasing childhood immunization rates is a key objective of the department's Health 2020 Initiative.

Clinics receiving the Golden Syringe Award by maintaining a 90 percent immunization rate for the past year include Sanford Clinic, Vermillion.

Clinics awarded for consistently maintaining 90 percent immunization coverage rates include Clay County Community Health Services, Vermillion.

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