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Immunizing Children

May 29, 1993

As someone who works with children and schools everyday, I am familiar with the relationship between good health and educational achievement. Kids cannot learn if they are sick.

Immunizing children against preventable diseases is an absolute necessity. That is why it was particularly troubling to read your article (May 1) declaring a "low" turnout for a free immunization program. Despite many good intentions, these programs will continue to have disappointing results until they go to where children are--preschools and schools. If we wait for parents to bring children to the right parking lot or to county health buildings, we may never reach them.

That is why the LEARN proposals, among others, give me great hope. They recognize that if you want to reach kids you must go to the schools. Social services that serve children or parents should be offered space in schools to make them more accessible and to cut down on the duplication of programs that often occurs when separate agencies offer similar programs.

The immunization program is an excellent example of a program that could pay gigantic dividends if our health care workers go to where the kids are. MARK SLAVKIN

Board Member, LAUSD

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