Friday, April 22, 2011

Are your infant’s shots up to date? April 23-30 is National Infant Immunization Week

It’s often said that a baby’s smile is contagious. Who can resist a cute little baby face? When babies smile, we are assured that they’re happy, healthy and safe. That’s why we strive to keep them smiling. And that begins with protecting them from diseases through routine vaccinations.

April 23-30 is National Infant Immunization Week, organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Celebrated since 1994, the week draws attention to the many benefits of vaccination and reminds parents to make sure their children’s shots are up to date.

Vaccinations are particularly important for infants, as children’s immune systems are most vulnerable during their infancy. Health officials recommend that infants receive a series of vaccinations for diseases such as measles, mumps and the flu, a full list of which can be found online or at the doctor’s office. Falling behind on vaccinations can be dangerous, as a 2009 outbreak of whooping cough in California showed. During that outbreak, 10 infants died and 8,000 people became sick.

The recommended series of childhood immunizations prevents about 10.5 million cases of infectious illnesses annually and 33,000 deaths just in the United States, a study found. So it’s important that infants don’t miss out.

Parents who worry about being able to pay for their children’s vaccinations can call 800-232-4636 toll-free to find a facility that provides immunizations through the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides vaccines at no cost to children whose parents can’t afford them.

Promotional materials for National Infant Immunization Week, including posters, proclamations and certificates, are available on the event website. The CDC site also provides an online schedule that parents can create for their child as a reminder.

The next time you look on a baby’s face, keep the National Infant Immunization Week slogan in mind: “Love them. Protect them. Immunize them.” That way, your baby will keep smiling for years to come.

No comments: