Too many children in this country do not receive recommended childhood vaccines. Diseases that were once thought to have been wiped out are coming back in some regions. Therefore, RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County recently held a symposium on Vaccine Advocacy and Adolescent Immunization. The objective of the program was to inform school and health department nurses of the unique position they are in to be vaccine liaisons and to help stop the rise of anti vaccine advocates.

Additionally, the program stressed that while working with parents, nurses can educate mom and dad on achieving a healthy lifestyle for children through vaccines.

The program, presented by Robert W. Tolan, Jr., MD, Chief, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital at St. Peter's University Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine was unique. Nurses normally must pay for programs that earn professional development hours for them. The New Jersey Department of Education/Office of Program Support granted the RN's two professional development hours for this program which was free of charge.

The ability to present the program without cost was made possible by sanofi pasteur in partnership with Union County's Immunization Program, a joint service of RUNNELLS Specialized Hospital of Union County and the county's Department of Human Services.

Union County Freeholder Rick Proctor, Health Officer to Rahway, Scotch Plains, Hillside, Berkeley Heights and Winfield addressed the nurses acknowledging his admiration for the excellent job that they do.

The success of these nurses lowers the risk of Union County's children contracting infectious diseases that can lead down the road to hospitalization, disability or death.

The Union County Immunization Center located at 342 Westminster Avenue, Elizabeth provides free immunizations through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program to all Union County children 18 and under. To inquire about vaccines for your children and which documents to bring with you, call 908-965-2734.