Lenexa, KS – As children head back to school, parents and caregivers should not overlook routine vaccinations against serious infections, such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and hepatitis. Sunflower Health Plan (Sunflower) wants Kansas residents to have information and resources to help protect children and communities against preventable illnesses.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, immunizations have declined, with all populations showing a downward trend from pre-pandemic routine immunization rates. Routine vaccinations are effective in preventing serious illness within schools and communities. Despite school reopenings and the restart of student activities in some states, the immunization rate for children in kindergarten dropped between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. This leaves thousands of young students at risk for preventable illnesses when re-entering the classroom for in-person learning.
The more immunized a community is, the harder it is for preventable illnesses to spread. Immunizations not only protect the individuals who are vaccinated, they also protect everyone who interacts with them. As students prepare to return to school, it is as important as ever to ensure children are up to date with their routine immunizations. Childhood immunizations help protect against 14 serious diseases. Without this protection, it is likely communities will see a surge of serious illnesses.
Sunflower invests in educational opportunities around vaccinations for members through programs such as Fluvention®, which provides comprehensive information about the benefits of receiving an annual flu vaccine.
"Pediatric vaccinations reduce the rate of vaccine-preventable diseases," said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Skoch. "We want families to have the information they need to make informed decisions about immunizing their children. With the start of the school year around the corner, now is the perfect time for children to visit their primary care provider and catch up on immunizations."
Individuals can learn more about specific vaccines, immunization schedules and safety information by contacting the Kansas Department of Health and Environment or referring to cdc.gov/vaccines.
For more information about Sunflower services and benefits, please visit sunflowerhealthplan.com.