Strive for 95 Coalition Rallies Community to Support Vaccinations0
With vaccination rates at some schools in Santa Barbara County plunging to 50 percent, health care providers are rallying to rebuild the community’s immunity.
The goal of the Strive for 95 Coalition can be simply stated: Boost vaccination rates so 95 percent of people who live here are immune to key preventable diseases. Reaching that goal will require help from many corners.
“We can start this dialogue, but it is going to take a lot more than the medical community to make a difference,” said Dr. Steven Barkley, the NICU medical director and chief pediatric medical officer for Cottage Children’s Hospital. “It will take a little help from a lot of people.”
Cottage Health joined with the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Sansum Clinic to launch the Strive for 95 Coalition this spring. The coalition recently launched a website, strivefor95.org , which offers a positive, fact-based message that can be shared easily.
The coalition urges families to be well and have fun: If we’re going to have an outbreak, let’s not have an outbreak of contagious disease. Instead, let’s have an outbreak of laughter, dancing or singing.
“Let’s give our children the time in their youth to be healthy and enjoy the magic that we know goes way too fast,” said Dr. Barkley. He calls this “a critical time” for education on immunizations and asks that PTAs, clubs, teams and other community groups help the coalition to get the facts out.
For many decades, vaccines have played a critical role in protecting individuals and communities against contagious diseases such as measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough and meningitis.
Children from families who refuse vaccinations are at risk of getting these diseases, which can have serious complications. Unvaccinated children also endanger newborns, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and children who were vaccinated but did not get a full response to the vaccines.
High rates of whooping cough and chicken pox have affected the Santa Barbara community during the past year.
The coalition encourages others to join them in answering the vaccine refusal trend and welcomes ideas for reversing it. “We are looking for ways to get the word out,” Dr. Barkley says.
To find out where to get your child vaccinated and for more information, please visit