"Immunization for Healthy Lives" Education Program

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Landon Pediatric Foundation of Ventura, as many as 40% of the children in Ventura County go unprotected against life-threatening, yet preventable, childhood diseases every year because they are not properly immunized.

To help improve vaccine rates, the Landon Pediatric Foundation is conducting an immunization education campaign with the support of participating McDonald's Family Restaurants, the Ventura County Medical Center, the Ventura County Public Health Agency, the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Office, and physicians throughout the County.

"Immunizations and child health exams are the best way to protect the health of children, " says Dr. Chris Landon, Medical Director of the Pediatric Diagnostic Center of Ventura and Executive Director of the Landon Pediatric Foundation. "So we are working with doctors to make them quick, easy, and inexpensive for parents. We want parents to know that immunizations and preventive care are available at low or no cost to all children, even if they don't have insurance or a regular attending pediatrician or family practicioner."

To get the word out to parents, County McDonald's restaurants have produced flyers and trayliners featuring the AAP- recommended vaccination schedule and information on where to go to get immunizations and child health exams. They are offering redeemable coupons for McDonald's merchandise to physicians and families. In addition, they have teamed with County Schools and the Landon Pediatric Foundation to send notices to the parents of every school child in Ventura County.

"All students are required to be vaccinated before they can enter kindergarten," says County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Weis. "But parents should not wait until their children are ready for school to protect them. By sending immunization schedules home with every student in the County, we hope to alert parents that their younger, unprotected children are in danger."

"Diseases like polio, whooping cough, and measles are still around," warns Dr. Landon, "and pose a special threat to kids under 2 years old. It's important that they are immunized on time." The AAP recommends that children be immunized regularly from birth to 2 years, with boosters at ages 4-6,11-12, and 14-16 years.

"So post a copy of the immunization schedule in your home and make an appointment for your child at the clinic in your community," says Dr. Landon.

Dr. Landon considers this "Immunize for Healthy Lives" educational campaign and the federal government's "Free Vaccines for Children" program to be examples of how private practice doctors, public health staff, school officials, and industry leaders are working together in our County to improve the health of our children.

"It's never been easier to get preventive care for your children, he tells parents. "Protect your children...with immunizations and child health exams."

Contact the Landon Pediatric Foundation at 289-3333 or Ventura County Public Health at 652-5918 for the location of a child health clinic near you.

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