AFT urges vaccinations for children

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The AFT has joined with the Obama administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local leaders, and public health advocates in calling for individuals and parents to vaccinate themselves and their children amid a new outbreak of measles.

"We need to keep our kids, our families and our communities safe. That means staying current with childhood immunizations according to CDC recommendations," says AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Nurses and healthcare providers know that childhood immunizations are essential to the well-being of children and the broader community. The recent measles outbreak is another blatant reminder of the importance of vaccinations.

"Our members are on the frontlines," Weingarten adds. "We are urging our teachers, paraprofessionals, public employees and healthcare workers—who all could be at greater risk—to consult with their healthcare providers on possible boosters and reimmunizations."

As part of our efforts to keep the public safe, the AFT has issued "Stopping Measles in its Tracks," a fact sheet about the current outbreak and the importance of vaccinations.

"Our hands are tied," says Patricia Forrai-Gunter, a school nurse and executive board member of the Cleveland Teachers Union. "We cannot provide adequate healthcare to our students and keep the school environment healthy when families decide not to get their kids vaccinated. What we need more than anything else is support from state and local leaders to make sure families are educated about the importance of immunizations for their children, our school systems and communities nationwide."

"As frontline healthcare providers, we play an important role in maintaining the health and safety of our community," says Stephen Rooney, National Federation of Nurses president and an AFT vice president. "We believe that vaccinations are an essential weapon in deterring the spread of communicable diseases. With so much at stake for the health of our country, we strongly urge parents and families to keep their kids' vaccinations up to date."

[AFT press release]