A plea for childhood immunizations - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

A plea for childhood immunizations

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's a hot topic that has sparked debate among parents, whether or not they should vaccinate their infants. Wednesday morning Mayo Clinic doctors and some area mothers made a plea for everyone to stay up-to-date on their shots.

It's no surprise life expectancy has increased by 30-years in just the last 100, but what is interesting is that Mayo Clinic said vaccinations are to thank. Yet, infections still occur, one mother shares her infants story of survival, after becoming ill, with whooping cough.

Just five weeks of age and Everlee Stevenson, would be fighting for her life. Now, seven months later, her mother Emily, is still haunted by the illness.

"Our scariest moment at home was when she stopped breathing while in her infant seat,"explained Emily Stevenson.

Little Everlee's symptoms began with a fever and a mild cough, and quickly worsened. It was then, Emily knew what her baby girl might have.

"My heart sank at that moment, as I remembered receiving a notice just a week before from our older daughter's classroom that a case of pertussis had been reported," stated Stevenson.

Everlee, was indeed ill with whooping cough and would find herself in the ICU. It's instances like this, that are causing the Minnesota Commissioner of Health to urge everyone - of all ages - to stay up-to-date on vaccinations.

"It protects everyone, not just those who get immunized, but those who can't get immunized because they're too young or have some immune deficiency it protects them. It protects everyone, so we're in this together," said Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota's Health Commissioner.

According to Mayo Clinic, before infant vaccinations, millions of infants suffered every year.

In the 1920's, more than 100,000 cases of Small Pox were reported. In the 1930's, 200,000 cases of whooping cough. As we continue throughout the decades: polio, measles, mumps and rubella also affected a large majority of people, occasionally resulting in death.

"12,000 babies are born every day in the U.S. and by the time they've reached 2 they need to receive about 24 injections and 3 doses of vaccines," explained Dr. Robert Jacobson, with Mayo Clinic's Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Mayo Clinic said vaccinations are one of the most cost beneficial forms of intervention to date in the medical field. In fact, there has been less than a 1% rate of infectious diseases, due to infant vaccinations.

It's important to note physicians say at every socio-economic level and walk of life there can be a fear of vaccinating.

To help make sure every infant in the state is immunized... Minnesota's Immunization Action Coalition has translated packets of information into more than 20 languages.

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