Health Board: on-time vaccination of students in Tallinn a problem

Child being administered a vaccine. (Joe Raedle/AFP/Scanpix)
3/21/2016 1:16 PM
Category: News

A recent study conducted by Tallinn School Health Care revealed that seven percent of planned vaccines were not administered to students in 2015, and that school nurses were worried by parents’ tendency to opt out of vaccination for their children altogether.

Irina Filippova, chief specialist at the Estonian Health Board, confirmed that a problem does exist regarding Tallinn students’ timely vaccination.

In one such situation, parents refused on principle to vaccinate their child, and according to Filippova’s records, there have even been situations where students themselves have expressed that they would like to be vaccinated, but their parents have not allowed it.

“There are also situations where one parent is in favor of vaccination and the other against it,” said Filippova.

According to the chief specialist, another possible cause for these issues with vaccination is active anti-vaccine or “anti-vax” activity, whose information causes confusion among parents and students alike. In her opinion, anti-vaccine coverage in such news outlets as TV3 and the Estonian newspaper “Stolitsa” has played a part in bolstering such activity as well.

In other situations, some parents simply cannot be bothered to properly look into the matter and read through the information needed to give consent for vaccination.

Other parents are difficult to get in touch with, while some children forget to get the needed signatures for their consent forms. Occasionally, children themselves will simply not show up for their vaccinations because they are scared of getting shots.

“Nevertheless, our school doctors are very good, and they put a lot of efffort into getting children vaccinated in a timely fashion,” added Filippova.

According to Health Board stastics, among students in Tallinn ages 7-14 in 2015, 992 students were completely unvaccinated against diphtheria and tetanus, 1,019 unvaccinated against pertussis, or whooping cough, 981 against polio, and 1,219 against measles, mumps, and rubella.

In 2015, while 94 percent of students from the ages of 15-16 received the second scheduled booster of the “Tdap” vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, just 74 percent of 15-16-year-olds received its specified third booster, and only 86.4 percent of 14-year-olds received the scheduled second “MMR” vaccine booster against measles, mumps, and rubella.


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