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County Planning Teen Immunizations

The county plans to launch an immunization campaign targeting teen-agers at risk to disease, thanks to a $65,766 grant the Board of Supervisors is set to accept Tuesday.

The Teen Immunization Program would target about 3,000 teen-agers in continuation schools across the county beginning early next year, paid for with money from the Ventura County Community Foundation and the Blue Cross Community Clinics Fund. Students will need parental permission to participate.

Lin Glusac, the county’s immunization coordinator, said statistics from the May measles outbreak highlighted the need to conduct an immunization drive among teen-agers. About 50% of the 74 confirmed cases of measles were adults who had not been properly immunized as children, she said.

Glusac said the county’s Public Health Services department decided to start by immunizing teen-agers in continuation schools because many of those students may have missed getting shots as youngsters.

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“About 70% of these teen-agers were low income and did not have a regular doctor or primary care specialist” when they were young, Glusac said.

If funding continues through a second year, public health officials plan to target teen-agers in community schools and in the court system.

Health workers will provide state-supplied vaccines including tetanus, diphtheria, measles and hepatitis B. Glusac said tetanus or “lockjaw” can lead to muscle spasms or even death if untreated. Glusac also said about 5,000 people die nationwide from hepatitis-related illnesses every year.

As part of the immunization campaign, a health-care educator and public health nurse will visit schools to give talks on immunization.

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“These are future parents within a few years,” Glusac said.

“They will need to know that their children need immunizations.”


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