A national survey finds more South Dakota preschoolers are getting immunized for pertussis, polio, rotavirus and other vaccine-preventable diseases according to the recommended schedule.

“Any increase in immunization coverage rates is good news but there is still work to be done, particularly with vaccines such as rotavirus that are recommended but not required for school entry,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “We also need to focus on increasing rates for older children.”

The 2013 National Immunization survey found the following vaccine coverage rates:

diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis – 86.5 percent (79.2 percent in 2012)

polio – 93.4 percent (93.0 percent in 2012)

measles, mumps, rubella – 93.1 percent (93.3 percentin 2012)

Hib – 84.7 percent (78.4 percent in 2012)

Hepatitis B – 92.1 percent (92.2 percent in 2012)

Varicella – 92.5 percent (92.6 percent in 2012)

Pneumococcal – 83.6 percent (79.3 percent in 2012)

Hepatitis A – 55.4 percent (45.3 percent in 2012)

Rotavirus – 68.7 percent (59.5 percent in 2012)

Kightlinger noted that 78 of the 265 South Dakota clinics that give early childhood vaccines had rates at or above the 90 percent coverage goal for the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis series while 58 clinics had rates below 70 percent.

He encouraged parents to watch the Sept. 10 episode of NOVA, the popular PBS science series. Vaccines – Calling the Shots, will explore how and why vaccines work, concerns and misconceptions about them, and the risks of deciding to forego immunizations. More information about the program can be found at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/vaccines-calling-shots.html.

“Vaccinating their children is an important decision for parents and questions are completely understandable,” said Kightlinger. “Talk to your child’s doctor, watch this program, seek the best available evidence to make decisions about how to protect your children.”

Find out more about immunizations and the recommended schedule at doh.sd.gov.