Modified: August 21, 2016 12:35pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date August 21, 2016
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Vaccines Are Vital for Healthy Babies
Give Them The Best Start to a Lifetime of Good Health
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious diseases. Parents can provide the best protection by following the recommended immunization schedule – giving their child the vaccines they need, when they need them.
Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 serious diseases by age 2. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine, as well as receive each vaccination on time. After age 2, children should continue to receive a yearly flu vaccine. Children will also be due for additional booster doses of some vaccines between 4 and 6 years of age to “boost” their protection against these vaccine preventable diseases. Following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health. If a child falls behind the recommended immunizations schedule, vaccines can still be given to “catch-up” the child before adolescence.
When children are not immunized, the results can be devastating. Each year, thousands of children in the United States become seriously ill with diseases that could have been prevented with proper immunizations. Immunizations are among the most effective medical interventions of all time. Short of basic sanitation and nutrition, no medical intervention has done more to save lives and prevent disease than immunizations.
Child care facilities, preschool programs and schools are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments. When you have an opportunity to give your child up to a 98% chance of avoiding a disease like chickenpox that can lead to dehydration or pneumonia, or a serious illness like whooping cough that can cause seizures, brain disease, and death, that is an extremely convincing reason to vaccinate.
“The positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants is a tremendous public health achievement,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”
Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
Burstein added: “Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles. Parents should speak with their child’s healthcare provider to ensure that their baby is up-to-date on immunizations.”
Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must all work together to help protect the entire community. For example, protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is even born. All pregnant women are recommended to receive the whooping cough vaccine, or “Tdap”, during the third trimester of each pregnancy. This helps to protect their baby from whooping cough until he can receive his first whooping cough vaccine at 2 months.
To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your children, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines, speak with your pediatrician, or call the ECDOH Immunization Clinic (located at 608 William St., in Buffalo) at (716) 858-7687.
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