Health Providers Seek Answer for Low Vaccination Rates of Alaska Children

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

More than one-third of Alaska children do not have all the vaccines they need to fully protect them against preventable diseases.

Public health providers want to know why.

According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alaska ranks 46th out of the 50 states for completing infant to early childhood immunization for everything from diphtheria to measles, mumps and whooping cough.

The CDC regularly conducts random telephone surveys of households with young children and the children’s health care providers.  The state public health division is following up with a statewide survey of parents to determine why their children haven’t been completely immunized.

Marcy Custer is the Maternal Child Health Consultant for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Custer says this is the first survey the state has done to find out just what parents know about vaccines – and if they’re worried about vaccine safety, don’t believe in vaccines, or having trouble getting their children to a clinic.

While the survey is anonymous, respondents are asked where they live, so public health can target solutions to individual communities.

Custer says anyone with children under six-years-old should take the SHOTS survey. The survey is also available at local public health clinics in rural communities. It can be found online at and at local public health clinics in rural communities.

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