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March of Dimes Uses 75th Anniversary to Promote Vaccination


The March of Dimes is using its 75th anniversary this year to remind people to get their children vaccinated. The non-profit, which supports infant health began as an immunization campaign against polio and has long since supported the use of vaccines. But health officials worry the message about the importance of vaccinations isn't getting through to some parents.

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[Historic March of Dimes campaign photograph featuring Elvis Presley]

The March of Dimes’ back-to-school shots reminder coincides with two health alerts. 

The most immediate is a case of measles identified in a  tourist visiting Orlando from the UK. The second alert comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says the rate of vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus- HPV-  has stalled. HPV vaccinations are given to adolescent girls to prevent cervical cancer, but the CDC says some parents worry about the safety of the vaccine. March of Dimes spokesperson Dr. Karen Harris says people really need to think about how dangerous the disease can be. “Vaccines are safe, they’ve been well studied, and should be used widely,” she says.

Harris says childhood immunizations aren’t the March of Dimes’ only concern. Fall is also the time for annual flu shots. “Influenza is particularly harmful during pregnancy, and mothers can get extremely ill from flu,” Harris says.

The March of Dimes says measles, pertussis or whooping cough and influenza are all infectious diseases still plaguing parts of the United States, but all are preventable through vaccination.

 

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