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Low child vaccination rates in Colorado causing concern

Posted at 7:13 PM, Mar 01, 2023

COLORADO — When kids end up at Children’s Hospital Colorado the priority for Dr. Jessica Cataldi is getting them well.

At times the Infectious Disease Specialist also has uncomfortable discussions about vaccines that could have prevented the trip to the hospital.

“It's always a difficult conversation to have with families to say, you know, there may have been something that could have been done, but now, it's too late. And we're dealing with treating this disease that may be making you very sick,”

New data shows Colorado is 32nd in the nation for kids completing the CDC recommended series of vaccines.

“Some people have the misconception that some of the diseases we vaccinate to protect against are rare,” said Cataldi, “But when they happen to you or happen to your family, and it can be very serious, and unfortunately, many of these diseases are becoming common.”

Studies show just over 70% of Colorado kids do not have full vaccine series that protects against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, and polio.

“If it's below that 90 or 95% threshold, depending on which disease,” said Cataldi, “If you have one case come into a community it's very easy for that case to spread and turn into an outbreak and put more people at risk.”

During the pandemic, some families fell behind on routine doctor visits that include vaccines.

The lag continues.

“I would point out that the childhood vaccines, they're not new, they've been around for a very long time, and they are a really safe and effective and the safest and most effective way to keep kids healthy,” said Cataldi.

Colorado health leaders want everyone aware of the risks caused by low vaccination rates.
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