Immunizations protect individuals, community

Each year, numerous vaccine-preventable diseases are reported in Illinois and the United States. Certain diseases, such as measles, are making a comeback as vaccinations are delayed or declined.

The DeKalb County Health Department’s Immunization Program works to prevent the spread of illness by vaccinating children and adults for protection against a wide variety of diseases. Studies show the benefits of childhood and adult immunizations. Immunizations save lives by protecting against many diseases that once injured or killed thousands. Immunizations also limit the spread of these diseases to friends and loved ones. These diseases can be especially serious for infants, young children, the elderly and persons with chronic illness and weakened immune systems.

A well immunized community helps to eliminate disease for future generations. A good example of this is the eradication of smallpox due to the vaccination efforts against this disease. Last year, the Health Department gave more than 9,000 vaccinations to children and more than 2,600 to adults, according to public health administrator Jane Lux.

In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), data suggest that vaccinating children born between 1994 and 2013 will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths. This translates to a net savings of $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total cost to society (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/ ).

“Immunizations not only provide individual protection to individuals, but protect the health of the entire community,” Lux said.

The Health Department also reminds residents that it is “never too late to vaccinate.”  Adult vaccination is an important component in maintaining adult health and preventing the spread of infection to loved ones.  Those traveling to other countries must also consider the vaccinations required for their international travel. The Health Department’s International Travel Clinic is instrumental in assisting clients with their travel plans. In addition to the vaccinations, travel consultations provide information regarding other health considerations for the international destination.

The Health Department is now accepting cash, checks, credit cards, health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare Part B payment for all childhood and adult immunizations. For more information or to make an appointment, call 815-748-2460 for children’s immunizations or 815-748-2467 for adult immunizations.

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