Missouri is doing a better job of getting toddlers vaccinated for childhood diseases.
About 68 percent of children under age 3 got all the required vaccinations in 2010, up from 56 percent in 2009. Neighboring Illinois remained at just above the national average in 2010, with 75 percent.
Missouri health department director Margaret Donnelly attributes the improvement to stronger legislation and better outreach and tracking.
"We started increasing our communications with providers, started increasing our communications with parents and childcare centers," Donnelly said. "And even more significantly we have increased the use of a statewide immunization registry, ShowMeVax."
Donnelly says ShowMeVax is helping providers and childcare facilities keep track of immunizations and remind parents when children are due for their next dose.
She adds that cost considerations should not keep parents from getting their children vaccinated.
“Even if you do not have insurance that covers immunizations, there are programs available where your child can get the vaccine at little or no cost,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly urges parents to contact their healthcare provider or local public health agency to schedule an immunization appointment.