Modified: April 24, 2017 1:57pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date: April 24, 2017
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
World Immunization Week &
National Infant Immunization Week
ERIE COUNTY, NY— World Immunization Week (April 23-29, 2017) and National Infant Immunization Week (“NIIW”), April 26-May 3, 2017, are both annual observances to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases.
In the United States, NIIW celebrates the successes of immunization programs around the country and highlights the importance of immunizing. Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, including influenza.
Worldwide, it is vital to remember that infectious diseases do not have borders! By ensuring ALL children have access to vaccines, disease outbreaks worldwide can be eliminated. Expanding access to vaccines in other countries strengthens our ability to fight disease globally and keeps our families healthy in the United States. Immunization currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves. An estimated 19.4 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.
“Delaying your child's vaccines or refusing vaccines leaves your child vulnerable and puts vulnerable members of our community at risk,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “High immunization rates in our community protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants less than 12 months old. These infants are then at risk for vaccine preventable diseases that could have devastating consequences for them or for anyone with a compromised immune system who is also unable to be vaccinated.”
NIIW highlights the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and calls attention to immunization achievements. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. 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. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.
Burstein added: “Ensuring that infants receive 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 immunizations are up-to-date.”
Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must all work together to help protect the entire community. Immunization is a shared responsibility. For example, protecting babies from pertussis (whooping cough) begins before a baby is even born. Pregnant women should receive a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy to protect the newborn from pertussis. Tdap is especially important for health care professionals and anyone with close contact with a baby younger than 12 months. Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis. Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and one dose of Tdap is routinely given at age 11 as required for school in New York State. People who were not immunized with Tdap at that age should get it as soon as possible.
To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your children, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines, speak with your healthcare provider, or call the ECDOH Immunization Clinic (located at 608 William St., in Buffalo) at (716) 858-7687.
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