Low Vaccination Rate Concerns Tulsa Health Officials

Jun 18, 2014

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Vaccine-preventable diseases are making a comeback in the U.S., and that has Tulsa health officials encouraging people to catch up on immunizations.

Two out of every five pertussis cases in Oklahoma last year were in Tulsa County. Tulsa Health Department immunization program manager Becky Grubb said not nearly enough people are up-to-date.

"Overall rates for all age groups are about 70 percent," Grubb said. "Anything below 90 percent our population as a whole is at risk for outbreaks."

Along with pertussis, measles is a vaccine-preventable disease making a comeback.

The number of measles cases this year is already up 560 percent nationwide from 2010. Although there haven’t been any cases here, Grubb said some population groups are more at risk.

"We are considering those people who are under school age that haven't started immunizations yet, and then for some reason college-age students are at greater risk," Grubb said.

The most recent data show just 70.4 percent of Tulsa County kids from 19 to 35 months are up to date on their immunizations. Statewide, that figure is 72.5 percent.