N.D. rate of student vaccinations continue to decline

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) As part of North Dakota’s Public Health Week, NDSU is hosting several events to commemorate the week. On Tuesday, students presented research on several topics pertaining to public health. Some of the research focused on vaccinations, which is extremely important in a state where vaccinations for students has been on a steady decline.

"We have susceptible communities to outbreaks of disease and we need to get that threshold back up,” Dr. Paul Carson, NDSU Public Health Department Professor, said.

Carson is leading a study looking into the falling vaccinations of students in North Dakota for diseases like measles and pertussis.

"We have increasing numbers of people who are going through the motions to exempt their children from being immunized to get around or get out of the school immunizations requirements,” Carson said.

Carson said it’s not a crisis yet. He also said the falling vaccination rates have a lot to do with the population increase in western North Dakota.

“When parents are moving to that area of the state, they’re starting new lives. Getting to the doctor or making sure they have their child’s immunization records sometimes fall to wayside,” Carson said. “It’s not that they’re opposed to vaccinations, it’s just actually getting to the doctor to do it.”

Danielle Pinnick, a public health student, said the conversation to vaccinate your child should happen with your child’s pediatrician and not on social media, where information is sketchy at best.

"We as parents in the developed world don't really see these diseases happen enough to be afraid of them,” Pinnick said. "I have colleagues that have practiced medicine in east Africa or the Asian sub-continent that are startled to learn we turn lifesaving vaccines down because they have treated and they have seen people with measles or meningitis. They've seen people die from these things."

To get more information about the ongoing research, check out the related links. There, you’ll also find information about more events taking place at NDSU for North Dakota Public Health Week.