Houston – Harris County has a poor track record for childhood immunizations. A public – private effort has been underway to change that. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports.
Houston’s immunization rate hovers around 65 percent for children about two years old. Statewide, the immunization rate for children three and under dropped to 75 percent in 2004. Health experts continue to work at the problem. Doctor Herminia Palacio is the executive director of Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services. She says a couple of registries have been set up to help track children who get shots at different doctors’ offices.
“It’s really important to know that the great majority of parents say yes to have their kids in the registry. What we really need to do is engage the doctors to make sure we fill out those records because those kids are already in the registry and we just need doctors to go on-line and put in the information of when they’ve had a shot.”
Palacio says another effort will include mailings to families reminding them of upcoming immunizations that are due. The program also involves sending reminders out to families if the registries show the children have not been brought in for shots. Officials say this program has been credited with increasing immunization rates in other cities. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.