CDC: Many Utah teens not getting all vaccinations

Posted at 8:38 PM, Sep 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-05 10:02:00-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- New numbers from the Center of Disease Control says that Utah junior high students are behind on some of their vaccinations.

Currently there is only one “required” vaccine for students entering the seventh grade. But the state recommends three others, though not many kids like getting those shots. School nurses and state health officials want parents to understand those vaccines rather than dismiss them just because they aren't required.

"We are in an enclosed area where we have close contact with people, all it takes is one person to get it, have meningitis and all of the sudden we see that spreading throughout the schools," said Jordan School District nurse Jeri Melton.

Meningitis is rare in Utah and in the past three years there have only been four reported cases. However, it can be deadly as it is highly contagious. And that is why the vaccine is recommended for teens entering junior high.

New numbers from the National Immunization Survey says only 53 percent of Utah teens 13 to 17 got the shot in 2011 --  18 percent below the national average. Health officials say it is likely because the shot is not required.

The other recommended vaccinations are the HPV and the flu.

One of the big reasons parents do not vaccinate their children is the possible adverse affects, which is why health experts say it is important for parents to get those facts.

More information on vaccinations can be found at Immunize Utah online: CLICK HERE