Published Online: November 12, 1997


Federal File

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Dr. Seuss to the Rescue

The catchy rhymes and appealing characters created by Theodor S. Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, have always been easy for children to remember.

Now the Cat in the Hat and other recognizable figures from Dr. Seuss' popular books are part of a presidential initiative to boost immunization rates. The aforementioned Cat and other Seuss characters will liven up a new nationwide campaign to remind children and parents of the importance of immunizations.

The campaign, announced Oct. 30 in Atlanta by Mr. Geisel's widow, Audrey Geisel, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala, will feature six posters to be distributed to health-care providers, medical clinics, community centers, and schools. One reads: "What's wrong here? What's wrong with this fella? Why isn't he protected against measles, mumps, and rubella?"

The poster campaign is another piece of the Childhood Immunization Initiative, launched by President Clinton in 1993. Immunization rates are now at an all-time high, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, 1 million children under 2 have not received all their immunizations.

At Long Last

In March, President Clinton stood up the students of the Lighthouse Elementary School in Jupiter, Fla., after he fell down a flight of stairs.

Late last month, he kept the same students waiting in the rain after Air Force One was fogged in temporarily at Andrews Air Force base near Washington. "It was so foggy in Washington that I couldn't see my hand before me, and we had to wait for two hours to take off," Mr. Clinton told the school's students on Oct. 31 when he finally arrived.

Mr. Clinton's Halloween appearance at the school's playground was a makeup visit for a previously scheduled presidential appearance. That visit was abruptly canceled after the president fell at golfer Greg Norman's house and tore ligaments in his knee.

More than 1,000 children waited in the school's playground to hear the president's five-minute Halloween speech, according to Lynn Waltuch, a teacher who attended the soggy festivities. The school was to be closed on Halloween for a teacher work day, but school officials arranged for transportation for any of the 1,150 students who wanted to attend Mr. Clinton's speech, Ms. Waltuch said.


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