TRENTON - Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy,
M.D. today announced a new public awareness campaign aimed at increasing
childhood immunization called "Disease Is Blind: It Does Not
Lady Dina Matos McGreevey, Secretary of State Regena Thomas and
Personnel Commissioner Ida L. Castro joined Commissioner Lacy at
today's press conference at the Henry J. Austin Health Center in
parents need to know that measles, whooping cough and other childhood
diseases are still potential health threats. Fortunately, we have
safe and effective vaccines that can prevent serious illness and
even death," said Commissioner Lacy. "Free or low-cost
vaccines are available locally in most communities, and I urge parents
to pursue these services to protect the health of their children."
awareness campaign publicizes a Department hotline (1-800-328-3838)
to guide parents to the nearest immunization site. Free or low-cost
vaccines, made available through the federal Vaccines for Children
Program, can be obtained at participating doctors' offices and at
clinics such as the Henry J. Austin center and other federally qualified
health centers statewide.
a new mother myself, I know that, for parents, there is nothing
more important than their children's health and well-being,"
said Mrs. Dina Matos McGreevey, First Lady of the State of New Jersey.
"Getting your children vaccinated not only helps preserve their
health, it gives parents important peace of mind knowing their children
urge all parents to call the toll-free hotline to find the closest
clinic in your neighborhood," said Personnel Commissioner Ida
L. Castro. "We have programs in place to get families the help
that they need to keep their children healthy. Remember, children
must have all their shots in order to be enrolled in a licensed
day care facility or school."
making these programs and services readily available, there is no
excuse not to get your child immunized," said Secretary of
State Regena Thomas. "I encourage parents to get their children
vaccinated on time."
receive most of their vaccinations in the first two years of life.
By age two, about 78 percent of New Jersey's children - a rate that
mirrors the national rate -- are appropriately immunized. The state's
goal for 2010 is to have 90 percent of children properly immunized
by age two.
goal of the new outreach campaign is to get more children immunized
on time and to communicate the safety and effectiveness of childhood
vaccines. Over the next two months, the First Lady, Governor McGreevey
and their young daughter, Jacqueline, will appear in television
commercials airing across the State. Radio spots encouraging vaccination
will feature the Governor and Mrs. McGreevey, with additional messages
from Commissioner Castro, Secretary of State Thomas, and Sila M.
Calderon, the Governor of Puerto Rico.
McGreevey has demonstrated his ongoing commitment to immunization
and protecting the health of New Jerseyans. Childhood immunization
was a priority throughout his 10-year administration in Woodbridge.
Under his leadership, the Township Department of Health consistently
attained immunization rates well above the state average, and received
praised from the state health department. The Township took part
in innovative programs, such as one promoting the benefits of immunization
on paper place mats in Woodbridge's fast food restaurants.
In the past year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the most
respected scientific authorities in the United States, issued several
reports thoroughly examining all concerns about vaccine safety.
After exhaustive examination, the IOM found no evidence of vaccine
link to health or developmental problems in children. Several federal
agencies continue to monitor vaccines for their safety.
Department is also working with the New Jersey Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics and the federal Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention on a number of special projects to reduce barriers
to timely immunization, both in public clinics and among private
providers. These include streamlining administrative procedures,
expanding accessible service hours for patients, and ensuring that
all parents are aware vaccines are available for their children,
even if they cannot afford to pay or are not covered by insurance.