Colorado Regulation Requires Immunization Against Invasive Pneumococcal Disease

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Pneumococcal Disease

Children attending licensed child care facilities receive the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Prevnar, a vaccine that helps provide protection against invasive pneumococcal disease, a major cause of morbidity and mortality among infants and young children.

In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month, Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition (CCIC) fully endorses this regulation and encourages parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated before childcare entry.

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"Children attending daycare facilities are at a higher risk for pneumococcal disease," said Lydia McCoy, CCIC Executive Director. "The Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition is proud to support Colorado in helping protect our children from this life-threatening, yet vaccine- preventable disease with timely immunizations."

All children enrolled in child care facilities in Colorado must now receive the complete series of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which is already part of the childhood immunization schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Prevnar is administered in a four-dose series (given at 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months). For previously- unvaccinated older infants and children at risk, there is a catch-up schedule available.

Invasive pneumococcal disease is a group of potentially life-threatening infections caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, and includes bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, and bacteremic pneumonia. Before Prevnar was available in the United States, S. pneumoniae was estimated to be responsible for 25 percent to 40 percent of the cases of bacterial meningitis among children. Additionally, S. pneumoniae can cause non-invasive illnesses, such as otitis media.

"Successful vaccination programs are the best method available for helping decrease the burden of childhood infectious diseases," Ms. McCoy added. "The CCIC is committed to providing Colorado's children with the healthiest start by supporting initiatives such as this immunization requirement."

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