Public Health to Continue Free Immunizations for Infants
State funding fills federal gap, keeps vaccines free for kids up to 35 months old
ANCHORAGE - An infusion of state cash will ensure that free vaccines will continue to be available for Alaskan infants 35 months old or younger.
After a huge reduction in federal funding last year left the state immunization program's free vaccines in doubt, Alaska Public Health officials said today that $4.3 from last year's House Bill 310—along with $700,000 in funding from the governor's budget—is now keeping the immunizations available.
“The wonderful thing about this new coverage is it offers parents to get all the vaccines that are the most important for children that they receive generally by two months of age,” Gerri Yett said. Yett works as a nurse epidemiologist and is the Immunization Program Manager with the state’s Epidemiology section. She said the free vaccines cover common illnesses such as whooping cough, hepatitis, and certain strains of influenza.
“A child is exposed from the moment of birth to many, many people who are carriers of certain diseases,” Yett said. “They may not be symptomatic, or aware of that, so again, it’s an opportunity to protect your child.”
Public health officials added that children between the ages of 3 and 18 will continue to be eligible for certain state-supplied vaccines.
A full release from the state Epidemiology section can be found here.