Mayor Don Wesely and local health officials today kicked off a childhood immunization awareness campaign with a football theme "How is your child's defense?" The campaign is part of the Mayor's Healthy Kids 2010 initiative. Wesely thanked the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, the Immunization Coalition, local businesses and organizations and UNL football coach Frank Solich for participating in the campaign. Solich is the spokesperson for the campaign in television and radio public service announcements.
"As important as football is in this state, parents need to remember that having their children immunized is even more important it's one of the most important health decisions they make," said Mayor Wesely. "Getting our children immunized is a crucial step in protecting them from disease. The goal of this campaign is to encourage parents to contact their child's health care provider or the Health Department to make sure their child's shots are up to date."
Tim Timmons, the Health Department's Communicable Disease Program Supervisor, said children need 80 percent of their shots by age two. Additional shots are needed before children enter kindergarten and the seventh grade. The law requires students to be properly immunized before they can attend school.
"Parents have many questions about why and when immunizations are needed, whether they are safe, where to get shots and what to do if a child has missed some shots," said Timmons. "With this campaign, we hope to provide answers and information and increase awareness to keep our children and our community healthy."
The immunization campaign will be promoted throughout August and September with posters, billboards and bus signs. In addition to the broadcast announcements, 5 CITY-TV, the government cable access channel, will air informational programs on immunizations. The programs can be viewed anytime through the video-on- demand. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Immunization Coalition will be represented at the BryanLGH Health Fair August 11; the KZKX Day at the Folsom Children's Zoo August 18; and the Lincoln Children's Museum August 8. Children attending these events can pretend to give shots to a toy bear and sign up to win prizes that have been donated by local businesses. Pamphlets and schedules for immunizations will be provided for parents.
About 12,000 families with children will receive mailings which include basic immunization information. Local Burger King restaurants will feature information about immunizations on tray liners. Other businesses and organizations supporting the campaign are Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Circuit City, Dairy Queen, Krispy Kreme, the Lincoln Racquet Club, BryanLGH, the St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, the Lincoln Children's Museum, Super Saver and Target. Other contributors are the Nebraska Health and Human Services immunization program and the Lincoln Early Childhood Planning Region Team.
During its immunization clinics in August, the Health Department is also offering to exchange dangerous mercury thermometers for safe digital ones. Unbroken mercury thermometers can be placed in sealed plastic bags and taken to the Health Department's consumer services area at 3140 "N" Street.