While some states allow for exemptions, West Virginia remains one of three to require child immunizations regardless of religious or personal objections.
Currently, any child entering a public school or state-regulated child care center must receive immunizations for chickenpox, hepatitis-b, measles, meningitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough.
Vaccines save lives.
According to Dr. Vincent Kolanko, a Mon Health Wedgewood Primary Care Pediatric and Internal Medicine physician, it’s likely one of the reasons that children in West Virginia have remained largely unaffected by diseases that are easily prevented by vaccinations.
“Vaccinations throughout childhood help provide immunity to dangerous, potentially life-threatening, diseases,” said Dr. Kolanko. “While vaccine-preventable illnesses, like measles, have reappeared in some states, West Virginia laws and vaccine requirements have proven effective at keeping our children safe from such diseases.”
In 2019, the CDC reports more than 764 cases of measles confirmed in 19 states—the second greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eradicated in 2000.
Despite the growing outbreak, children in West Virginia have remained unaffected by the spread of measles.
Vaccines protect the vulnerable.
“Vaccinations are everyone’s responsibility,” says Dr. Kolanko. “Not only are you protecting your child from deadly diseases—but you’re also preventing the spread of diseases to those who cannot receive immunizations, such as a newborn baby, pregnant woman or a child with a suppressed immune system.”
Dr. Kolanko adds that families who wish to have their children vaccinated but need financial assistance should contact their state health department or look into the CDC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which is offered at most doctors’ offices.
To learn more about the importance of vaccines, visit the CDC’s immunization resources.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kolanko by calling 304-599-9400.
Emily K. Gallagher
Mon Health Medical Center