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"Sadness" and Cuts at Sacramento County Health

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 8, 2010

Children 8 years old and younger need two flu immunization shots to be properly protected. But about 700 Sacramento school children won't get those second shots through the County Public Health Department---as planned--- because of state budget cuts

That first round of shots had already been administered at Sacramento County Schools. But just as the county was readying to administer a second round of shots, officials learned there wasn't enough state money. Overall, the state cut 18 million dollars statewide to immunization programs.

"That translated in Sacramento County to a cut of over 130 thousand dollars to our immunization program," explains Sacramento County Public Health Officer Glennah Trochet. She says the cuts were retroactive to July, "even though we didn't find out about it until the end of October. "

The county will also stop contracting with the immunization registry due to state budget cuts. The registry helps track immunization records for children so they get the proper shots at the correct times.

Trochet says it's just one of many programs that have been cut or eliminated all together due to shrinking budget money. Trochet says the cuts have left many career professionals wondering what they've been working for.

"I think it's a pervasive sadness in my division. People who have worked for years to build up programs are seeing them disintegrate," Trochet says. "But we're trying to move ahead from that. We're really need to do what we can to try and streamline and be more efficient.  And this maybe an opportunity to rebuild using evidence based programs, and programs we know our effective."

Trochet says there have been so many cuts to staff the division won't qualify for needed grants.  Over the past five years, some 135 Sacramento County public health positions have been eliminated. The county made 100 million dollars in budget cuts across this past year.

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