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posted: 10/8/2012 5:00 AM

Vaccines easier than ever to get

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A Sept. 21 Daily Herald editorial points out the need for ongoing diligence -- and possible policy changes -- to fight the whooping cough epidemic among children.

We would like to remind parents that whooping cough and seasonal flu vaccinations are now available at community pharmacies throughout the state, for anyone age 10 or older, thanks to a new law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

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The pharmacy community -- including retail pharmacies of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association -- is pleased to participate in this important public health mission. We expect that vaccination rates will increase substantially now that people can be vaccinated in the grocery, retail and mass merchant pharmacies conveniently located in most Illinois communities.

The editorial also cites alarming research suggesting that immunity from preschool vaccines wears off sooner than previously thought, noting that 7- to 10-year olds are also contracting whooping cough.

While health officials and lawmakers decide on appropriate action to meet the needs of this age group, we encourage parents to take advantage of the pharmacy vaccinations now available for their older children and for themselves.

David Vite

President and CEO

Illinois Retail Merchants Association

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