Immunization Provides the Power to Protect
State health departments, health care professionals, immunization partners across the country and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are all working together this week to promote National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). From April 20th through April 27th various efforts will be made to highlight the positive impact of vaccination and bring attention to our many immunization achievements. The ultimate goal is to continue to reduce infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States, and to emphasize the ways in which immunizations provide the power to protect.
While there may be specific actions to highlight immunizations throughout the week, we want to begin by acknowledging the important accomplishments we’ve already achieved. For instance,
Immunization advances currently enable us to protect infants and children from 14 different vaccine-preventable diseases before they reach age two.
Routine childhood immunization of all children born in just one year in the U.S. prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths.
Immunization saves our nation about $13.6 billion in direct costs each year.
The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for routinely recommended vaccines remain at or near record levels.
Every immunization advocate should be proud to know that their hard work contributes to these important milestones. But of course, this doesn’t mean we can rest easy. There is always room for improvement. Children in the United States can—and do—still suffer and sometimes even die from vaccine preventable diseases. For example, in 2012, more than 50 people were reported to have measles. In addition, preliminary data from the CDC reports more than 41,000 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in the United States alone last year – the highest number of pertussis cases in any one year in the U.S. since 1955. Sadly, these cases resulted in 18 deaths, most of which were among children younger than a year old.
And when we turn our sights on the global community, we see that vaccine preventable diseases are still among the most common killer of children worldwide. Which is why we will also be promoting World Immunization Week (WIW) from April 24th-30th. This initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) will simultaneously promote immunization while also working to advance the idea of universal access to vaccination services, to include cross-border immunization activities.
The fact is that as long as vaccine preventable diseases exist in the world they remain a threat to people everywhere. Therefore, please join us in promoting the following NIIW messages this week:
- Highlight the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Promote the importance and benefits of childhood immunizations.
- Educate parents and caregivers about the vaccination.
- Focus attention on our immunization achievements and celebrate the accomplishments made possible through successful collaboration.
- Step up efforts to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Encourage better communication between parents and health care professionals.
- Remind parents that they need to make & keep immunization appointments.
- Provide parents with a toll-free number, 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), to locate a facility that offers immunizations through the Vaccines for Children’s program, a federally funded program that provides vaccinations at no cost to children whose parents cannot afford to pay for them.
Be sure to like our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page and follow our ShotofPrev Twitter feed for suggestions on how you can help spread the word about National Infant Immunization Week and World Immunization Week. Let’s be sure to let the world know that “Immunizations Provide the Power to Protect”.