How Can You Ensure Your Kids are Getting the Right Vaccines at the Right Times?
Apr 29, 2019
Follow the CDC’s Recommended Schedules
You may already know that vaccines save millions of lives and can help protect you and your family from infectious diseases that can cause serious illness, disability and even death. But did you know that a vaccine’s effectiveness is also related to when it is given? That’s why it’s so important for parents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended childhood immunization schedule. This schedule, which is also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP), was created to give your kids the best protection against dangerous diseases as early as possible. “The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect babies early in life, when they are vulnerable and before it’s likely that they will be exposed to diseases,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), CDC. If followed accordingly, you can protect your children from 14 serious diseases before their second birthday.
Although the number of vaccines in the schedule may seem like a lot, you can rest assured that research shows that a baby’s immune system can handle getting all of the vaccines when they are recommended. Choosing not to vaccinate or following a delayed schedule leaves your children unprotected longer against serious diseases like measles and whooping cough, which are still circulating in the U.S. and around the world.
National Infant Immunization Week
This week – through May 4th – marks the 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). The CDC established NIIW as “an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, healthcare professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together through NIIW to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements.”
When the NIIW observance was first established, state immunization programs were facing significant challenges. Just like we are seeing now, the nation was in the midst of a serious measles outbreak and communities across the U.S. were seeing decreasing immunization rates among children. NIIW provided an opportunity to draw attention to these issues and to focus on solutions. In fact, VYF’s cofounders Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumpers traveled every year, typically along with Dr. Walter Orenstein, former director of the CDC’s National Immunization Program, to states with low immunization rates in order to galvanize support among community leaders, legislators and public health partners. Communities and their local and national partners have continued to use this week each year to raise awareness about the importance of ensuring infants and young children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases through timely immunizations.
Vaccines For Children Program
2019 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program. VFC is a federally-funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children through VFC-enrolled providers. Nationally, there are more than 44,000 healthcare providers enrolled in the VFC program. Other healthcare providers that might participate in the VFC program include pharmacies, urgent care clinics, and school-based clinics. To see if your child qualifies for VFC or to learn more about the program and how to sign up, please visit www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram.
We’re encouraging everyone to learn more about the importance of timely childhood immunizations, and make sure that your kids are receiving all their vaccination according to the CDC’s recommended schedule.
Questions about Vaccines?
If you have questions about vaccination schedules, please talk to your child’s healthcare provider. You can also find answers to questions like How is the recommended schedule developed? and Why does my child need so many vaccines at once? in the Questions about Vaccines section of Vaccinate Your Family’s website. In this section, you’ll also find our Video FAQs. These short video clips address many of the concerns that people have about childhood vaccines and their safety.
To learn more about NIIW, click here or take part in the Twitter storm on April 30th using #ivax2protect.
Note: This content originally appeared in Vaccinate Your Family’s Immunization Alerts e-newsletter, sent March 31, 2021. You can sign up for future alerts on our website. April 9, 2021: An update was made to...
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