News Release

 

For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000
countyexec@co.dutchess.ny.us

For Immediate Release

July 16, 1999

 

Child Immunizations Reach Record Levels
Steinhaus Announces Immunization Program Expands to Reach More Adults

 

Poughkeepsie, NY - County Executive William R. Steinhaus announces the continuation of funding for the successful Dutchess County Immunization Program which has succeeded in reaching a record high rate of childhood immunizations for Dutchess County. The Dutchess County Health Department Immunization Program  is now taking a similar approach in its efforts to focus on underimmunized adults.

"Even though there are safe and effective vaccines available, many adults do not receive them," Steinhaus noted. "We see the impact that our Immunization Program had in our ability to immunize children. Now we would like to use that same effective method for the adult population."

The Immunization Program, which was made possible by the funds available through the federal Childhood Immunization Initiative, began in 1993 when the Steinhaus administration decided to hire and dedicate a public health nurse in the Dutchess County Health Department to develop and coordinate immunization activities with the goal of raising countywide immunization rates to 90 percent. "At that time only 76 percent of Dutchess County children were fully immunized by the age of 2, but today I am delighted to announce our administration's initiative has been successful and the child immunization rate is 85 percent." Steinhaus said. "The program is well on its way to achieving our goal."

Community Immunization Clinics where free vaccines are given on a monthly basis have been established throughout the county. A computerized immunization registration, tracking and recall system has been set in place. Partnerships have been created with many community based organizations, most successfully with the Dutchess County Rotary Club which raised a sizable amount of money for the Shots for Tots program. The Provider Based Immunization Initiative was also established where many private healthcare providers in Dutchess County voluntarily work with the Health Department to develop the most effective ways to provide immunizations to their younger patients.

"Through both the partnership with the Dutchess County Rotary Club and with the individual healthcare providers, we have seen the incredible impact that taking action can have," Steinhaus said. "Today, as a result of our efforts, there are many more Dutchess County children who are protected from hepatitis B, polio, the measles, the mumps and rubella than there were six years ago. This makes our county a safer, healthier place. Now we are focusing our attention on creating this type of program for adults as well, protecting them from pneumonia and tetanus-diphtheria."

Presently, for adults traveling out of the country, the county has a weekly immunization clinic which is by appointment only. These weekly clinics are held at the Poughkeepsie and Beacon offices of our county Health Department. On October 1, 1999 the county will begin a traveling immunization clinic for adults in which a full range of immunizations will be available.

"Immunizations are a cost effective way to prevent disease," said Health Department Commissioner Dr. Michael Caldwell.

The flu vaccination clinics held throughout the county each Fall have been expanded to include pneumonia vaccine as well. A collaborative partnership with SPARC (Sickness Prevention Achieved Through Regional Collaboration) and the Dutchess County Health Department will enable many residents over 65 years of age to receive immunizations to help them maintain a comfortable quality of life.

"It is a priority of ours that our county residents lead better, more productive and comfortable lives and this program accomplishes that goal," Steinhaus added. "Our immunization program helps young people avoid disease so they can concentrate on building a future for themselves, and it helps our older residents enjoy what they have worked for. This program is a smart way for county government to invest in the health of our community."

The Dutchess County Health Department's monthly community immunization clinic schedule for children is listed below. The schedule for the adult clinics will be made public once it is finalized.

Location Days (except holidays) Hours
Pleasant Valley Town Hall
Route 44, Pleasant Valley (486-3409)
1st Tuesday 2-4 PM
Hyde Park Town Hall
Route 9, Hyde Park(486-3409)
1st Thursday 2-4 PM
Beacon District Office
223 Main Street, Beacon (486-3409)
2nd Tuesday 3-4 PM
Dutchess Co. Dept. of Health
387 Main Mall, Poughkeepsie (486-3409)
2nd Wednesday
4th Wednesday
4-6 PM
10-11:30 AM
Christ Episcopal Church
50 South Broadway, Red Hook (486-3409)
3rd Tuesday 2-4 PM
St James Episcopal Church
Reimer Avenue, Dover Plains (486-3409)
3rd Wednesday 3-4 PM
Fishkill Baptist Church
Route 82, Fishkill (486-3409)
4th Wednesday 4-6 PM

-end-

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