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A free clinic held this week as part of an ongoing initiative by the York City Bureau of Health highlights the need for immunizing children — and adults.

It can be prohibitive, the agency said, because of the high cost of health care and a lack of public knowledge about immunizations.

In fact, in Pennsylvania, less than 70 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months were fully immunized in 2012, according to data from the Bureau of Health.

That's why the bureau has an ongoing educational and assistance program for local families.

We support the agency's determination to tackle both obstacles.

The fact is that because of vaccinations, illnesses such as polio, measles and whooping cough are not regular causes of serious illness for many children.

However, those not immunized because of lack of funds or access to health care information pose a great risk to others, such as babies who have not yet been immunized or received their full complement of immunizations and boosters.

The York City Bureau of Health's ongoing immunization campaign is an important cause, and for those local families who struggle to pay for — or are unsure about the facts of — immunizations, the bureau's website, www.yorkcity.org/immunization-program, is a great place to start.

The Centers for Disease Control also has a wealth of information on its website at www.cdc.gov/features/reasonstovaccinate.

As the Centers noted, "Reducing and eliminating the diseases that vaccines prevent is one of the top achievements in the history of public health."

However, when vaccination rates drop in communities, there is a greater potential for an outbreak of whooping cough, measles and other diseases that could easily be prevented.

If you are challenged to get your children — or yourself — properly vaccinated, call the York City Bureau of Health at (717) 846-6804 and find out about your options.

Do it for your health — and the well-being of your family and community.

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