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Vaccines Save Lives And Are Safe

National Immunization Awareness Month celebrates the important of vaccines

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month as a reminder that vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.  Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis).

“Most young parents in the U.S. have never seen the devastating effects of diseases like measles and polio, but those diseases still exist,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of not only getting those diseases, but of having a severe case of those diseases.  You can’t predict if your child will become sick with a vaccine-preventable disease, or how severe the illness will be, but you can provide the best protection by following the recommended immunization schedule and getting your child the vaccines they need, when they need them.”

Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in other parts of the world.  For example, measles is brought into the U.S. by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries.  When measles gets into communities of unvaccinated people in the U.S. (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical, or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to occur.  Illinois experienced a measles outbreak in 2015 in a daycare in which 12 of the 13 cases were infants too young to be vaccinated.  Vaccines don’t just protect your child; they help protect the entire community?especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

The U.S. has the safest vaccine supply in its history.  Vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored after they are licensed to ensure they are very safe.  The vaccination schedule also has been scientifically shown to be safe.  Although children continue to get several vaccines up to their second birthday, these vaccines do not “overload” the immune system.  Vaccines contain only a tiny amount of the antigens (the parts of the germs that cause the body’s immune system to respond) that your child encounters every day, even if your child receives several vaccines in one day.

When a child develops a disease like whooping cough, chickenpox, or the flu, they may miss several days of school.  It could also mean lost money because a parent or caregiver will need to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor.

Beyond the Bell Program closing August 10

FLORA, IL – The Illinois General Assembly included funding for the Teen REACH (Beyond the Bell) program when the budget was passed a few weeks ago; however, the Governor’s office has not yet issued contracts to spend this money.  Due to the uncertainty of funding, the Beyond the Bell program operated by the Clay County Health Department will close its doors on August 10, laying off one full-time staff member and five part-time staff members. 

          Some of the activities have included:

  • Service Learning – assisting with landscaping at the Flora Depot, walking dogs at the Clay County Animal Shelter, kitty play at Fur a Good Paws, community trash pick-up in the South End, serving at the Golden Circle Nutrition Center, and painting the Clay County Fair office
  • Academic Learning – geocaching in the Flora area and creating new geocaches to bring people to Flora; operating a Business Club – complete with inventory, revenues/expenses, and an ad campaign; receiving homework help; playing educational board games such as Catan;  earning rewards by writing short papers on the history of Holiday World and/or Santa Claus, IN, creating a budget, and ending with a trip to Holiday World; building band skills (band lessons taught weekly by the new Flora Elementary Band Instructor); and experiencing Break Out / Escape rooms where puzzles must be solved to “escape” from the room.
  • Physical Activities – Bike Club (conditioning and then culminating in a 20-mile ride on Tunnel Hill State Trail), swimming at the Flora Pool, soccer, Spring Break Bash at Oilbelt Christian Service Camp, dodgeball, scramble, participation in the Flora Summer Rec programs (basketball, tennis, and volleyball), attending Skyzone trampoline park
  • Peer / Adult Mentoring – Girls Club (learning about healthy relationships among young women) taught by local college students, Boys Club, interacting with seniors at the Golden Circle Nutrition Center, and participating in activities with residents at the Flora Gardens Health Center
  • STEM / Lifeskills activities – learning about drones / flying drones / repairing drones,  building catapults and trebuchets, building and launching rockets, cooking, learning about child development and achieving Babysitter certification through the American Red Cross, achieving CPR / First Aid certification, learning photography skills, conflict resolution, and anger management,

In addition, the Beyond the Bell program formed a 4-H club with 13 members.  Eight of the thirteen members earned the opportunity to present their projects at the Illinois State Fair on August 10. 

“My heart is full,” states Deena Mosbarger, Special Projects Director at the Clay County Health Department.  “We were able to continue programming through the end of summer with the aid of local donors and the students’ grew in so many ways.  The program has provided some really enriching programs that students never would have had the opportunity to participate in without Beyond the Bell.”

If/when the state releases funds for this program again, Clay County will consider operating this fantastic program again.  Clay County Health Department extends its gratitude to its community partners for assisting in making Beyond the Bell a huge success.  Pictures of students and activities can be seen on the Beyond the Bell Facebook page.


IDPH Tips To Avoid Tickborne Illness

 General emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at and on Twitter at


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Flora IL 62839
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