National Infant Immunization Week:
Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child
– Greene County Public Health would like to remind all parents, grandparents, and caregivers that this week is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). It is during this week that we celebrate the success of immunizations in preventing deadly diseases. Maintaining high immunization rates by vaccinating on time every time is key in keeping dangerous diseases away from our communities. NIIW is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, healthcare professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together through NIIW to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements. NIIW will be celebrated as part of World Immunization Week (WIW), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be
protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of
children are no longer common in the U.S. – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example
of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most feared disease,
causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the United States has been polio-
free since 1979. Due to continual worldwide vaccination efforts, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two
countries in the world that have never interrupted the spread of wild poliovirus, and only small pockets of polio
still exist in these countries.
Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists,
doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the
diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are
very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects
for almost all children.
Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In
fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who can get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money.
A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/index.html to find out more about the VFC program or ask your child’s health care professional.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many
diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination
eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease
no longer exists anywhere in the world. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles),
we have dramatically reduced the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn, and birth defects associated with that virus are seen in only rare cases in the United States when a pregnant woman who was never vaccinated against rubella is exposed to someone who contracted rubella in another country. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some
diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines
To find a vaccine provider near you, visit www.vaccinefinder.org
Greene County Public Health
Your Trusted Local Public Health Authority Since 1920
360 Wilson Drive, Xenia, Ohio 45385
toll free (866) 858-3588
Fax (937) 374-5675