ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 4, 2015) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 cases of measles have been confirmed in multiple states over the past twelve months, with the most recent outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. This is an important time to underscore the significance of vaccinations to prevent measles and other diseases and protect children and families.
Measles virus is highly contagious and can spread easily through the air via coughing and sneezing or on infected surfaces. Measles can be prevented with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend that all children get the MMR vaccine at age 12-15 months and again at 4-6 years old.
“National PTA has a strong history of advocating for universal measles vaccination for children as it is proven to be an effective tool in preventing the disease,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “Those who do not get vaccinated are put at risk, and because measles virus is highly contagious, entire communities can be affected. National PTA remains committed to educating families and communities on the importance of early vaccination as well as taking action to ensure all children are protected.”
National PTA encourages state, district, council and local PTA units to:
- Disseminate information to families concerning the importance and necessity of early vaccination for children,
- Provide information to help families obtain vaccinations locally for all children,
- Support the efforts of schools to enforce immunization laws,
- Conduct activities in support of an immunization awareness program,
- Advocate for legislation that would require all children to receive the MMR vaccine, and
- Support efforts to obtain funding that would enable public health agencies to provide low-cost or free MMR vaccinations.
Additionally, National PTA urges each State Education Agency to require certification of vaccinations as a condition of entry into schools, preschools and child care facilities to prevent measles and other communicable diseases. National PTA also supports the establishment of a minimum health care financing mechanism to guarantee that all children and families have coverage for basic needs, including the MMR vaccine.
Since 1908, National PTA has devoted great energy to halting the spread of diseases and improving other health conditions that have affected children. Beginning in 1925, PTA was a driving force behind providing check-ups to identify health problems in 5- to 6-year-olds entering school for the first time. This became the main vehicle for immunizing children against diseases. The effort grew into a program through which PTA introduced parents to the practice of getting their children periodic health examinations from birth onward as well as worked with community health agencies to provide necessary services. In 1976, PTA volunteers adopted a resolution on immunization of preschool children, and in 1990, a related resolution was adopted on measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.
As has been a priority for more than one hundred years, National PTA will continue to work at all levels to educate and advocate for universal measles vaccinations for children.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.