CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Infant immunizations can save a child’s life. That’s why the state Department of Health and Human Resources is promoting National Infant Immunization Week this week.

Charleston pediatrician Dr. Raheel Khan joined others at a kick-off event Monday. He said the state is near the top of the nation when it comes to kids and their vaccines.

“West Virginia, as you probably know, is one of only two states that do not recognize non-medical exemptions to immunizations. That helps keep up our rates,” the doctor said.

The immunization number for children entering kindergarten is at 96 percent but for the newborn to 4-year-old population the rate drops to 61 percent. The national average is 68 percent.

“The biggest challenge in our state is that even though we get our kids immunized by the time they’re ready to start school, often they’re left unimmunized (as babies) and they’re susceptible to some of these vaccine preventable diseases,” according to Dr. Khan.

Three diseases that were nearly unheard of 15 years ago are making a comeback. Pediatricians are seeing more and more cases of the measles, mumps and pertussis or whooping cough.

Two hundred cases of the mumps were recently reported in Ohio.

Khan said many times parents are hesitant to immunize their very young children because of a fear they’ll fall ill. Dr. Khan said you’re taking a greater risk not having them immunized.

“Vaccines, certainly, they have some minor side effects but when you weigh and balance the risks and benefits, the benefits outweigh the risks by a huge, huge margin,” he said.

He urged parents to talk with their pediatricians if they have concerns about the safety of vaccine and even do some research on their own. Khan is convinced parents will realize vaccines are a must.

Currently there are 14 serious childhood vaccine-preventable diseases: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Rotavirus, Haemophilus Influenza type B, Tetanus, Mumps, Pertussis, Pneumococcal , Polio, Rubella and Chickenpox.

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Comments

  • ABC

    "Currently there are 14 serious childhood vaccine preventable diseases ... Hepatitis B..."

    Because kids are at such a high risk of getting a STD. Sorry but I don't plan on my child having sex nor sharing needles with druggies. Hep B is not a serious childhood disease. It's a STD, defined as such by the Center of Disease Control who do not list children in the at risk group.

  • MDU

    I would just like to point out that if vaccines were safe & only had "minor side effects" then the federal vaccine court would not exist. My daughter suffered multiple seizures at 18 months old, just hours after receiving her vaccinations. The ER doctor who performed her CT scan confirmed she had brain inflammation from the shots she received earlier that day. Her regular (& former) pediatrician refused to file a VAERS report after her hospitalization. VAERS reports are published statistics of adverse events that happen after vaccines. You can see them for yourselves online, & they include some very serious outcomes, including death. Hardly a "minor side effect Dr. Khan." Some doctors prefer to keep people in the dark as much as they possibly can regarding the real risk to benefits of vaccinations. Please do your own research and do not blindly follow people who's pockets are being heavily lined by childhood vaccines. This includes the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these drugs while enjoying ZERO civil liability for their safety, the politicians they fund, & the doctors who sell them. The National Vaccine Information Center is a great place to start finding real, peer reviewed research debating vaccine effectiveness & safety.
    I find it ironic that Dr. Khan touts the fact that WV is one of 2 states with no option to be exempt from vaccines. The other is Mississippi. Coincidentally we are the two most unhealthy & uneducated states in the country.

    • ViennaGuy

      - I find it ironic that Dr. Khan touts the fact that WV is one of 2 states with no option to be exempt from vaccines. The other is Mississippi. Coincidentally we are the two most unhealthy & uneducated states in the country. -

      OK, I'll bite.

      Show me the causal link between unhealthy/uneducated and a lack of a vaccine exemption. Not a casual link, a causal link.

      • MDU

        I did say it was "coincidentally." There obviously haven't been any studies linking poor health to vaccination rates. And those studies will never be conducted. Have you ever wondered why there has *never* been a study conducted examining the differences in vaccinated and unvaccinated children's' health - particularly autism rates? Unvaccinated populations aren't hard to find. I assume the government is already aware of what the results would show, or else it would be done & published.
        WV has the poorest health in the nation, and the highest vaccination rates because our population is very uneducated and uninterested in public health issues.

  • Todd

    "Vaccines, certainly, they have some minor side effects but when you weigh and balance the risks and benefits, the benefits outweigh the risks by a huge, huge margin” - Mr. Khan, you sir are a liar.