Quick Takes

Paducah health department engages Kentucky students in vaccine awareness

By: - February 7, 2023 5:35 am
Elementary school students sitting at desks wearing masks

The Kentucky Education Association has come out against a potential tax cut that it says could harm funding for the state’s schools. Shown here is Medora Elementary School in Louisville after students returned in 2021. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Paducah’s Purchase District Health Department announced a “Become a Vaccine Champion” competition for Kentucky students on Friday. 

The vaccine awareness competition is open until 11 a.m. on Feb. 24. Three students — one in each age group — will win $250.

Student participants, which can include homeschooled students, should “illustrate the importance of routine childhood vaccines” through creative projects. 

Elementary students should create posters, middle school students should create brochures and high school students should create short videos and submit YouTube links. 

Submit via email at [email protected] or deliver in person to Purchase District Health Department locations. For more information, visit www.purchasehealth.org.

The Kentucky Association of Health Care Plans sponsored the prizes. Winners will be announced during the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Boys Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament in March.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says routine childhood vaccines include shots for:

  • flu
  • RSV
  • polio
  • whooping cough
  • tetanus
  • chickenpox
  • HPV
  • MMR

“On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” the CDC says. “Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.”

Additionally, health experts recommend COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older. State data last updated Jan. 30 showed around 5% of the population aged 0-4 got COVID-19 shots. About a quarter of 5-11 -year-olds are vaccinated. Half the state’s 12-15 year-olds had received vaccines and 54% of those 16-17 had done so. 

McCracken County, home to Paducah, is about 65% vaccinated

To find out what vaccines a child needs, parents and caregivers can take this quiz.


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.