OSWEGO – Oswego County health officials remind residents that vaccine-preventable diseases are still a threat to people’s health.While, thanks to vaccines, many serious diseases are no longer common in the United States, these diseases still exist and can spread when people aren’t vaccinated.

Some diseases that are prevented by vaccines, like whooping cough and seasonal flu, remain common in the United States. This year’s measles outbreaks are a key reminder of how quickly diseases can spread when people aren’t vaccinated. 

Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious diseases. Some infections that are prevented by vaccines, like HPV, can also lead to serious health problems later in life. Over 30,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year.

“You have the power to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Jodi Martin, supervising public health nurse for preventive services with the Oswego County Health Department. “Pregnant women have the power to protect their unborn and newborn babies, parents can protect their children and you can protect yourself by getting vaccinated on time with the recommended vaccines,” Martin added.

This summer, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation removing non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children. This new law will help protect the public.

“August is National Immunization Awareness Month. We are asking you to ask yourself, ‘are your children up-to-date on their vaccines?’,” said Oswego County Director of Public Health Jiancheng Huang. “Everyone–from infants to the elderly–needs vaccines to stay healthy throughout their lives. This time of year, when students of all ages are getting ready for school, is a good opportunity for parents to make sure their children receive their required vaccinations.”

Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease. Vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored even after they are licensed to ensure they are safe. Like all medical products, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and go away quickly. Some vaccines require more than one dose to provide the best protection; each recommended dose is important.

The Oswego County Health Department offers immunizations for all ages Tuesdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. No appointment is needed. Immunizations are available in Pulaski on the third Tuesday of every month, from 9 to 11 a.m., by appointment only, at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse. Please bring shot records for children to the immunization clinics.

The health department accepts cash or checks for payment. The department does not accept credit cards. The department can bill UMR (POMCO) plans, Empire, Excellus BCBS, Fidelis, United Health Care (Community Plan Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans), Medicaid, and Medicare.  All patients should bring their insurance benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

For those covered by other insurance providers, the health department will provide a receipt that may be submitted to an insurance provider for possible reimbursement.  For those who are uninsured, the county health department may be able to provide the vaccine at a reduced rate. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

For more information on vaccine preventable diseases, immunizations, or to schedule an appointment for the preventive office, call 315-349-3547.

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