Shots for Tots [AT&T Government Issue]
by Hope Katz Gibbs
AT&T Government Issue
BABY ANNA WAS UNDRESSED, PLAYING with her fingers, and smiling. She paid little attention to the long needle in the hand of Carlos Maldonado, a pediatric nurse in Alexandria, Va.
Carlos distracted Anna and inserted the injection of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) into her thigh. Anna wailed. Her parents winced. But Carlos smiled. He knows the importance of immunization.
“It hurts going in, but if Anna and all other babies under two years didn’t get this shot, the diseases it prevents could be less life threatening,” he said.
That advice is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which set up an Immunization Hot Line using AT&T’s S2000 toll-free service. Dial 1 800 232-2S22, and parents can find out where and when to get their children immunized.
The hot line also provides answers to commonly asked questions including: Why is immunization important? and What happens if children don’t receive the suggested shots?
About 12,000 parents have called the hot line since 1994. Currently, 75 percent of the nation’s two-year-olds are up to date with the recommended series of vaccines.
Despite this success, CDC wants to do better.
“About 25 percent of toddlers, almost 1.4 million children, still lack one or more doses of their vaccines,” said Kim Crumly, health communications specialist at CDC. “By the year 2000, CDC hopes at least 90 percent of all children under two will be properly immunized.” AT&T account representative Greg Faison helped set up the CDC Immunization Hot Line to make it easier for parents to get information.
“We installed a system where the network identifies a caller’s area code, then automatically routes the caller to the state health department where he or she lives,” Faison said. Dr. Enrico Davoli, a pediatrician in Virginia, supports the efforts of CDC.
“The Immunization Hot Line is an excellent way to ensure information gets out early to parents,” Dr. Davoli said. “Prenatal care is a must. Every expectant mom, or a woman who plans to get pregnant, can never start too early taking care of her child.”
For more information about the CDC Immunization Hot Line, contact Faison at 202 776-6374.