August 3, 2005

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3651

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First Lady Barbara Richardson announced today that according to the latest report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Mexico now ranks 15thin the nation for best childhood immunization rates. Almost 84 percent of New Mexico 's toddlers are fully immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. Just 2 œ years ago the state was ranked 49th.

"I am thrilled to see the progress New Mexico has made," said First Lady Barbara Richardson. "We are closer to achieving our goal of having 100 percent of New Mexico 's children fully protected from life-threatening diseases."

The CDC today released the latest state-by-state data for immunization rates for 19 to 35-month-olds. The First Lady made the announcement at a news conference at the Young Children's Health Center in Albuquerque , and thanked the dedicated statewide partnership of agencies, organizations, and individuals that are responsible for this wonderful achievement:

  • The New Mexico Department of Health, especially Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Dr. Steve Nickell, the department's immunization program manager,
  • Anna Levy and the New Mexico Immunization Coalition, as well as the local coalitions in Santa Fe , Albuquerque , Dona Ana and Sierra County ,
  • The Clinical Prevention Initiative, a group of doctors from the Department of Health and in private practice. They have supported and promoted the state's Done by One campaign, which encourages parents to get their children immunized with necessary vaccines by age one instead of two,
  • The members of Rotary International, who have taken on immunizations as a cause in New Mexico , and
  • The Health plans in New Mexico that have become the state's partners in promoting the campaign and making sure immunizations are a priority among medical providers and parents.

The director of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition, Anna Levy, said, this is the result people across the state working together to get kids immunized. "We are incredibly proud of our increase in immunization rates. It shows that concentrated efforts by many people and agencies on many fronts has made a significant difference in protecting the health of our children," Levy said.

In April Mrs. Richardson accepted an award from the CDC on New Mexico 's behalf for having the most improved immunization rates in the country. She was also honored by the Santa Fe Immunization Coalition, one of five coalitions in New Mexico dedicated toward getting more children immunized against such diseases as pertussis and diphtheria.

New Mexico provides free vaccines to every child who needs them. People seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health-care provider or public health office.

For information about the New Mexico Immunization Coalition or to join, contact Anna Levy, executive director, at (505) 272-5796. The NMIC is supported by New Mexico's First Lady Barbara Richardson, Secretary for Health Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Vice President for the University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center Dr. Phil Eaton.