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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date: April 24, 2019 


CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer


Phone: (716) 858-4941   


The Power to Protect with Vaccines: National Infant Immunization Week

Erie County Department of Health Reminds Parents, Caregivers to Protect their Children from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

ERIE COUNTY, NY—Erie County will mark the 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week from April 27 through May 4. This annual observance highlights the power of immunization programs to protect communities and child health.


Immunizations have been successful in dramatically reducing the number of cases of “childhood diseases” like chickenpox and polio in the United States. That success means that parents and caregivers may not have experienced or even heard of these serious diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases still exist in the United States, and can be common in other parts of the world. Unvaccinated individuals can travel to the U.S., putting unvaccinated people and those with immunosuppression at risk.      


“Erie County has high vaccination rates among school-aged children, and we rely on our partners in the health care community to work with parents and caregivers to keep infants and children up-to-date on their vaccines,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale R. Burstein. “Vaccines are safe, cost-effective and proven to prevent diseases that can be debilitating and deadly to children and adults.”


“It’s worth noting that this week’s observance began in 1994, when the United States experienced a serious measles outbreak, and we were seeing decreasing immunization rates for children,” Burstein continued. “The current CDC-recommended vaccine schedule protects children from 14 serious childhood diseases, including measles and whooping cough.”                                                                                                                  


When there are pockets of families in a community without vaccinations, they can put children and the community at risk. Health care professionals remain parents’ most trusted source of information about vaccines for their children. They play a critical role in supporting parents in understanding and choosing vaccinations.


Erie County runs an Immunization Clinic at 608 William Street in Buffalo. This clinic participates in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, a federally funded initiative that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might otherwise miss their vaccinations because of an inability to pay. The Immunization Clinic can be reached at (716) 858-7687.


Five county health departments in Western New York (Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming and Genesee) along with many other medical and clinical partners will participate in the 13th Annual WNY Immunization Coalition Conference on May 16. This event is targeted exclusively for health care professionals and registration is required.


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