Shot in the arm for health

May 06, 1991|By Newsday

THE CENTERS for Disease Control is worried about the comeback being staged by measles, which once seemed almost as extinct in the United States as polio. With serious outbreaks in several cities, it is something the rest of us ought to worry about, too. Before measles assumes epidemic proportions and becomes the kind of killer it is in the Third World, it should be nipped in the bud. It's not even that difficult.

The problem in big cities is many children are not being vaccinated at appropriate times.

But in the poorer areas of some cities, less than half the preschool children receive vaccinations. The reasons are not terribly complicated. Some parents do not have easy access to medical care and often are not aware that children should be vaccinated. Others just don't get around to it or can't take the time to go to clinics for the shots.

Delivery of the vaccine has to be made easier. Working parents and children should not have to wait in line at clinics, often for hours, to receive it.

A system of express-lane vaccinations should be devised. Weekend clinics in churches and community centers, along with mobile units, could be utilized. Such a strategy comes, of course, at a price, but nothing like the cost of hospitalizing and treating thousands of children and adults if the measles outbreak is neglected.

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