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Health, Science & Tech

Philly Democrat Calls on State To Study Access to Immunizations

Chris Nottingham

State Sen. Shirley Kitchen of Philadelphia is worried that children in Pennsylvania are not getting immunized against preventable illnesses simply because they don’t have access to the shots. 

The Democrat has introduced Senate Resolution 27, which would mandate the Advisory Committee on Public Health Law of the Joint State Government Commission undertake a study of the issue.

“Some state centers have shut down and some programs that were around to help children are no longer around,” Kitchen said. “So the question is, are families still able to access immunizations and vaccinations for their children?”

The resolution, which has been passed out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and is now before the Appropriations Committee, directs the JSCG’s Task Force on Public Health Law to “determine whether any amendments should be made to the Commonwealth’s public health law.”

It sets a 12-month deadline for the work to be completed and a report produced. 

Kitchen’s effort was in part prompted by a recent Pew Charitable Trusts study that ranked Pennsylvania second from the bottom when it comes to immunization rates among kindergartners. 

Credit Pew Charitable Trusts.
The Pew Charitable Trusts reports immunization rates are low in Pennsylvania.

Kitchen said that according to the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition, approximately 23 percent of two-year-olds in Pennsylvania are not up-to-date for the currently recommended vaccines.

“We want to make sure that families have the opportunity to be able to provide vaccinations and immunizations to their children to keep them safe,” Kitchen said.