State health officials this week are reminding parents to have their infants vaccinated against a host of preventable diseases.
Health officials say about 75 percent of the state's babies have received shots recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the time they turn 2 years. The state's goal is 90 percent.
Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist Kris Ehresmann says encouraging infant immunizations is a constant challenge.
"We really feel like we have a ways to go to reach that 90 percent goal, and we think it's important for parents and providers to remember that every single year we have 70,000 new babies that are born into Minnesota that we need to make sure are protected," Ehresmann said.
Some parents remain hesitant about having their children vaccinated, especially when some of the diseases are rare. Others have worried there might be a link between vaccines and autism, but numerous scientific studies have shown there is no link.
Ehresmann says recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have proven the need for the vaccines.
"They want more information and they have some questions. And so we are working to make sure that we have more information available at the health department for these parents, as well as we're working with providers to make sure they're prepared to provide good information, good science for parents who are expressing some hesitancy about vaccination," Ehresmann said.