The health and safety of you and your family is of vital importance to us at Ptarmigan Pediatrics.

To that end, we are dedicated to reducing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases by encouraging proper immunizations. If you have questions or concerns about vaccines for your child, we’ll be happy to answer them. If you want to see what some of these vaccine-preventable diseases can do to non-vaccinated children, visit the Immunization Action Coalition and read their illustrated reports. See the links section below for more information.

The importance of vaccinations cannot be understated. The ongoing effort to maintain high vaccination rates within our population provides a very real protection of our children against some pretty nasty diseases. Take measles encephalitis, for instance. Prior to the 1950s when a vaccine became readily available, approximately 450 kids died each year in the US from this disease, with another 4000 becoming ill, sometimes with permanent medical consequences. The CDC notes that during the first half of 2008, measles was AGAIN on the upswing in the United States. Fully 91% of the confirmed cases were in unvaccinated children; 85% of those could have been, which would certainly have stopped the spread of the disease. Many of those were home-schooled children in situations where school-entry vaccines were not required.[citation]  Remember that some people cannot receive vaccinations because of weakened immune systems or other medical reasons, so their protection against disease lies in the fact that the rest of us are vaccinated.

“Vaccines for Children — VFC”

The Alaska Division of Public Health in conjunction with the federal Centers for Disease Control administers the “Vaccines for Children” program.  This federally funded program provides money to the various states to increase vaccination rates and promote healthy children. In Alaska, VFC-eligible children are those who meet one of the following criteria.

1) Medicaid / Denali Kid Care eligible, or
2) Alaska Native or Native American, or
3) Uninsured (meaning no insurance at all).

The Alaska State Legislature has provided additional funds to cover patients with private insurance so that they, too, can receive pediatric vaccines (including seasonal flu shots) without cost to the patient.

Learn more here

about the war on preventable diseases

Vaccine and Immunization Links

  1. BOOK — Immunizations and Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent’s Guide. American Academy of Pediatrics. Also available as a Kindle book at
  2. BOOK — Vaccines: What you should know by Paul Offitt & Louis Bell. Very economically priced book at; also available as a Kindle online book.
  3. Article — Clear Answers and Smart Advice About Your Baby’s Shots by Ari Brown.
  4. “The Vaccine Wars” — highly regarded PBS episode on the value of vaccinations.  You can watch this show online at this link.
  5. Mat-Su Vaccine Coalition — Immunization resources for Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley.
  6. Vaccinate Your Baby — an excellent resource for parents. Read this one!
  7. GRAPHIC PICTURES of children afflicted with vaccine preventable diseases, from the Immunization Action Coalition.
  8. Personal stories about dealing with vaccine-preventable diseases, from the Immunization Action Coalition.
  9. PKIDS Online — Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases, lots of good information about vaccine-preventable diseases and how it affects the family.
  10. What Parents Need to Know — CDC articles, very informative.
  11. History of Disease Eradication — Lots of information about how a number of deadly diseases have been removed or at least reduced from the population.
  12. Ptarmigan Pediatrics vaccination schedule — The schedule we follow at our clinic, in coordination with state and federal recommendations.
  13. Institute for Vaccine Safety — Are vaccines safe?  This site addresses safety concerns and research projects involving vaccines.
  14. MMR / autism link debunked — Retraction of medical article supposedly linking autism to MMR vaccine.
  15. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Section of Epidemiology
  16. National Vaccine Program — Includes national immunization schedules and “why immunize” articles.

Immunization Records

Like many other states in the Lower 48, the State of Alaska has implemented a centralized vaccine registry, dubbed VacTrAK in this state, which houses immunization records from every child in the state. This secure, electronic database allows health-care providers to verify receipt or need of vaccinations promptly and improves quality of care and clinic efficiency. All clinics that administer free, state-supplied vaccines to patients are required to entered their vaccine records into VacTrAK.

As a second-check of your child’s vaccination status, we still require that you bring a copy of your child’s immunization records with you for your first immunization visit to our clinic, as well as any time vaccines have been obtained elsewhere since that first visit. We can address any discrepancies between those records and VacTrAK. Your child’s school or previous doctor can provide you copies of those records if you can’t find yours.

School Immunizations

Ptarmigan Pediatrics has all the vaccines your child needs to attend public or private school in Alaska. State law requires students in grades K-12 receive the following vaccines: diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A & B, and varicella (chickenpox) for students grades K-6. Children under the age of five also need to be vaccinated against Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). [citation]

 Immunization Schedule

Regular immunizations are directly responsible for healthy children and a healthy society, yet there is a wide range of recommended ages for immunizations in the federal and state medical communities. Ptarmigan Pediatrics has put together an immunization schedule that effectively balances the number of “pokes” at one time with the accepted medical guidelines for optimum disease protection.

If your child is behind on immunizations for whatever reason, our nursing staff will be happy to develop a personalized schedule to get them back on track.

If this is your first visit to our clinic, please bring your immunization records with you. We cannot administer vaccines without them. If you don’t have your own copy of those records, you may request that your previous doctor send them to us by filling out the Patient Information Release Form. For school aged children, your school nurse can often provide you a copy as well.

Immunization Information Packets for common or required immunizations

Vaccine Immunization Statements (VIS) are available at our clinic and are given out with each vaccine your child receives.  If you’d like to read up on any particular vaccine, access all the most recent VIS sheets here.