To the editor:
In honor of the recent National Immunization Week (April 24-30), a week dedicated to the importance of protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases across the world, and as a mother to infants, I believe it is our duty to make sure our babies are healthy and safe.
As a pharmacist, I believe vaccination programs for school-aged children are equally as important. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent certain diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unfortunately, Iowa has fallen behind on giving vaccines and ranks 31st in influenza vaccine coverage for children. Busy family lives and lack of access to medical providers are just two of the reasons that Iowans don’t get the flu shot and other CDC-recommended vaccines.
Recent legislation was passed to help more Iowa families get these life-saving vaccines. Gov. Terry Branstad signed legislation earlier this month allowing pharmacists to give the flu vaccine to school-aged children.
Pharmacy-provided vaccines are a convenient alternative for busy families since most pharmacies do not require an appointment for the flu vaccine, while also being open extended hours.
I commend my fellow Iowa pharmacists and Iowa physicians for coming together to work with state legislators. This legislation will help to ensure that Iowa’s children have a better opportunity to be protected from preventable diseases now and in the future.
Reanna D. Yenger, PharmD.
Editor’s Note: Yenger is a former Newton resident.