National Infant Immunization Week is April 25 - May 1, 2004
Beebe Medical Center joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during National Infant Immunization Week, April 25 through May l, 2004, to highlight the critical role of vaccinations for children’s overall health. This year’s theme is: “Vaccination: An Act of Love. Love them. Protect them. Immunize them.”
Each day 11,000 babies are born who will need to be immunized against twelve diseases before age two. Immunization coverage among children in the United States is the highest ever recorded for most vaccines, according to HHS, and these high immunization coverage levels translate into low levels of vaccine-preventable diseases. Still, one million of our nation’s children are not fully immunized. More than 20 percent of the nation’s two year olds are still missing one or more of the recommended immunizations.
“Vaccination is our most successful and cost-effective public health tool for preventing childhood diseases and death,” explains Dr. Jay Ludwicki, Chief of Pediatrics at Beebe Medical Center. “When vaccination levels drop, infants and young children are at increased risk for developing infection and infecting others, which is why it is critically important for parents to understand that children are far more likely to be harmed by serious infectious diseases than by immunization.”
To be fully protected, children need the complete recommended immunization schedule: at birth, 2, 4, 6, 12 and 15 months. Measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, rubella, and polio - diseases that just a few years ago caused tremendous suffering and death - still circulate in the United States and in many other parts of the world, according to HHS. These immunizations protect the entire community by preventing the spread of disease and providing protection for those who cannot be vaccinated.
“Because the immunization program in the United States has been so successful, and many formerly devastating diseases like measles, whooping cough and polio have been reduced so dramatically, parents are often not aware of the consequences of lapses in their children’s immunizations,” Dr. Ludwicki explains. “I encourage parents to talk with their pediatricians or family physicians to make sure immunizations are complete and current to keep kids healthy.”