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Posts Tagged ‘NIIW’

Educational Materials For Daycare Centers To Inspire Vaccination

April 27, 2017 7 comments

niiw-blog-a-thon-badgeSince 1994, communities throughout the United States have joined together during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children and our communities.  As we continue to recognize the achievements of immunization programs all across the country, as part of this year’s National Infant Immunization Week celebration, we’ve heard parents ask,

“What can I do to spread the word about the value of vaccines in my community?” 

One way parents can help promote healthy communities is by sharing materials that  help educate others about the benefits of timely immunizations for all ages.  Today, we invite parents to promote Every Child By Two’s Vaccinate Your Family program to local daycare centers through the use of specially designed educational materials.

Materials to Inspire Vaccination of Children in Daycare and their Families

In an effort to teach young children,  their parents,  grandparents, and other caregivers about the importance of immunizations, Every Child By Two (ECBT) has collaborated with Young Minds Inspired (YMI) to develop an educational program for daycare providers.  The materials don’t just focus on getting children their recommended vaccines, but also help to explain how parents, grandparents and caregivers can keep young family members healthy by keeping their own vaccinations up-to-date.

The materials were designed to be a combination of:

  • fun activities for children;
  • take-home handouts for parents, grandparents or other caregivers;
  • a wall poster for the daycare centers;
  • and an educator’s guide to raise awareness of the importance of vaccines for people of all ages.

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Five Things I’ve Learned About Vaccines Through 21 Years of Parenting

April 24, 2017 35 comments

niiw-blog-a-thon-badgeI gave birth to five children in the span of nine years. My oldest daughter will soon be 21.  My youngest, 12.  Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about childhood illnesses and infectious diseases.  Like most parents, I’ve received plenty of unsolicited advice about how to care for my children and how to keep them healthy.  However, when I make health decision for my children, I rely on evidence based research and credible information from reputable sources.

That is why I agreed to partner with Every Child By Two (ECBT) as the editor and primary contributor to this Shot of Prevention blog.  Seven years ago, when we started this blog, parents seeking vaccine information on the internet often encountered a web of lies, deception, misinformation and fear mongering. Today, Shot of Prevention is one of many blogs that provide parents with evidence based information to help them make informed immunization decisions for their families.

Today, in recognition of National Infant Immunization Week, I’m sharing five of the most important things I’ve learned about vaccines through my journey as a parent and immunization blogger and it begins with science and it ends with action.

1.) Don’t Let Your Emotions Cloud Your Scientific Judgment.

Visit any online parenting forum and there are fewer topics that can get as heated and emotional as vaccines.  The majority of these conversations illicit fear and sympathy, and you’ll often hear parents say that they had to trust their gut or rely on their parental instinct. While we can’t deny our emotions, when it comes to vaccines we must not let emotions cloud our scientific judgment. Instead, we must look to peer-reviewed research and sound science to make educated and informed immunization decisions for our children.

When we do that, we realize that vaccines are some of the most rigorously tested medical interventions available today. And they should be because they are administered to almost every healthy child born in the U.S.  The four different surveillance systems we have in the U.S. serve as back-up systems to ensure the ongoing safety of vaccines.

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While it’s true that no medical intervention comes without risk, the chances that your child will suffer a serious adverse reaction from a vaccine are documented to be less than one in a million.

When you compare that risk to the risk of injury or death from the diseases that we prevent, vaccines win the benefit/risk ratio hands down.  So, brush up on your science and take the time to understand how vaccines work.

Listen to immunization experts address some of the most frequently asked questions about vaccines in these Q&A videos available on our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page here and our YouTube channel here.  You can also check out these other resources to learn more:
Immunity and Vaccines Explained; video from PBS, NOVA 
How Vaccines Work; video embedded on Immunize For Good website 
Vaccines: Calling the Shots; Aired on PBS, NOVA 
Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines in the U.S.; PDF document from the CDC 
The Journey of Your Child’s Vaccine; Infographic from the CDC 
Vaccine Ingredients Frequently Asked Questions; Healthy Children, AAP
Vaccine Education Center Website; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 

2.) Appreciate Vaccines For Their Life-Saving Quality.  

Thankfully, science is advancing and newer, safer vaccines are enabling us to prevent more needless suffering, hospitalizations & death. However, it’s not uncommon for parents to question why their child may need so many shots.

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Admittedly, the method of administering vaccines can be painful at times.  I’m beginning to think that the reason parents are concerned about the number of vaccines their children receive is because it’s even painful for parents to watch their child suffer from the discomfort of a needle. And worst yet, there are often multiple shots at each visit during those first two years of life.  If vaccines were administered orally, through an adhesive patch, or through a way that didn’t involve pain, I believe parents might not have nearly as much concern.

Unfortunately, one of the hardest things to accept as a parent is watching your child suffer from things you can’t prevent.  But the reality is that with vaccines, you are preventing something, even if you may never see that disease which you are preventing. The reality is that some brief discomfort, a few pricks of a needle and even a mild fever, swelling, rash or big crocodile tears are far better than suffering from any one of the 14 different diseases we can now safely prevent through childhood immunizations.

Since we are privileged to live in a country where we have such easy access to vaccines, parents don’t often see just how dangerous vaccine preventable diseases can be. And while we may not have ever seen polio in our lifetime, we must never forget the fear that parents experienced before a vaccine was available. Sadly, most parents in the U.S. probably don’t even realize that polio still exists in other countries and that globally, measles remains one of the top five killers of kids under the age of five.

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In fact, our country is currently battling yet another measles outbreak in Minnesota. This outbreak appears to be direct result of anti-vaccine advocates wrongfully convincing members of the Somali community not to vaccinate due to the dispelled myth that vaccines were linked to autism.  Now unvaccinated children are being hospitalized with measles and public health professionals are hard at work trying to contain the spread of this extremely infectious disease.

Perhaps if parents were to learn more about the dangers of the diseases that vaccines help to prevent, they may feel less anxious about the shots their child is recommended to receive.  Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.16.16 AM.png

To learn about the 14 different diseases that we can prevent with today’s childhood immunization center, check out our Every Child By Two’s Childhood Vaccine Preventable Disease eBook.

Read more…

Preventing Childhood Diseases Requires a Community Commitment

April 20, 2016 52 comments
This post is part of a blog relay sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognition of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW).  You can follow the conversation on social media using hashtag #NIIW and join the #VaxQA Twitter Chat Wednesday, April 20th at 4 p.m. ET

 

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Protecting kids from disease requires more than just getting them their recommended childhood vaccinations.  It requires the commitment of an entire community.  

Thanks to an abundance of evidence based research, we’re constantly learning new and improved ways to protect our children; from safer rear-facing car seats with five-point harnesses, to wearing bike helmets and recommending that babies sleep on their backs.  Thankfully, advancements in medical science have also led to safe and effective vaccines that can protect today’s children from as many as 14 potentially deadly diseases.

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This commitment to scientific research has provided us with the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history.   Today’s vaccines not only contain less antigens than they did years ago, but they have fewer side effects. There is even a system in place to continually evaluate vaccine safety and a process to update and improve vaccine recommendations as new information and science becomes available.

The impact of infant immunizations is monumental.  

20-year-infographicIt is estimated that vaccines administered to American children born between 1994-2013 will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths.  In looking at the incidence of specific diseases like measles, we can see how beneficial childhood vaccines have been.  For instance, before the U.S. measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3–4 million people in the U.S. got measles each year.  In comparison, last year we had 189 cases and even that seemed like a lot.

While these successes are to be applauded, there’s still more that can be done to protect today’s children and future generations from dangerous diseases.

Timely childhood vaccinations are critical.

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The recommended childhood vaccination schedule is specifically designed to provide immunity at a time when infants and young children are at the greatest risk of contracting potentially life-threatening diseases.

Take Hepatitis B for example.  If a child contracts this disease before the age of one, there is a 90% probability that they will develop chronic symptoms later in life.  However, only 30% of children who contract hepatitis B between the ages of one and five will go on to develop these chronic issues.

This is one reason why the birth dose of the HepB vaccine is so important. Since the U.S. started routine HepB vaccination, new cases have declined by more than 80%, and mostly among children.

 

 

But vaccinating babies isn’t enough to ensure children will grow to be healthy adults.

Keeping children safe from preventable disease requires community immunity.

Because widespread vaccination programs have been so effective in preventing diseases in the U.S., many parents don’t realize that diseases like polio and diphtheria still exist.  Some don’t consider diseases like whooping cough, varicella or measles to be a serious threat to their children.  This miscalculation of risk can lead to vaccine complacency or refusal.

But the fact is that vaccine-preventable diseases are still circulating in the U.S. and around the world.  Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still be commonly transmitted in many parts of the world and brought into the country by unvaccinated individuals, putting entire communities at risk.

This explains the recent resurgence of measles cases in the U.S. , despite measles having been declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.  Today’s outbreaks are often the result of unvaccinated individuals who contract the disease oversees and then return to the states where they spread it to others.  But unvaccinated individuals don’t just put themselves at risk; their choices impact the health of our communities as a whole. Read more…

Maine Public Health Professional Recognized as Immunization Champion

Every state needs a local source for parents to get immunization information they can trust.  In addition to state health departments, many states have immunization coalitions, immunization program managers and various public health professionals that help to ensure that parents get the vaccine information and access they need to keep their families healthy.  

Cassandra GranthamIn Maine for instance, public health advocates and policy makers understand that less than optimal vaccination rates are impacting the health of the state through disease outbreaks, missed school, hospitalizations and even, in some cases, death.  Unfortunately, the state of Maine has been ranked as having one of the highest rates of whooping cough infections and unvaccinated kindergartners in the nation.  However, through the work of dedicated public health professionals like Cassandra Grantham, the Maine Childhood Immunization Champion Award recipient,  the state is making great strides at addressing these concerns.

Cassandra was born and raised in Maine.  She loves her state and its people, and she is determined to help prevent the spread of disease in Maine communities.  As the parent of two children, Cassandra realizes that fellow Maine parents just want to do what’s best for their children.  That is why she has made it both a personal and professional priority to ensure that parents have access to scientifically accurate information about vaccines so that they can make well-informed immunization decisions for themselves and their children.

As Program Director of Child Health at MaineHealth, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving 11 of Maine’s 16 counties, as well as co-chair of the Maine Immunization Coalition, Cassandra has served as the backbone of the state’s immunization programs since 2010.

1240040_532110726862813_3266206_nOver the past few years she has launched several educational initiatives, such as the creation of the Vax Maine Kids website, the Vax Maine Kids Facebook page and the Vax Maine Kids blog which addresses a various childhood health topics ranging from safe sleep to immunizations.  She even launched the Kohl’s Vax Kids program, designed to increase immunization awareness among parents who are most likely to delay or skip their child’s vaccinations. Read more…

Every Child By Two Parent Advocate Receives Childhood Immunization Champion Award

April 20, 2015 2 comments

Each year I look over the list of Childhood Immunization Champion Award winners and I am truly inspired. 

During National Infant Immunization Week (April 18-25, 2015) the CDC and the CDC Foundation recognizes “Champions” from every state.  While the Champions are often public health professionals, doctors and nurses, being selected as a Champion isn’t just about doing your job.champ-award

Being a Champion requires an extraordinary effort.  It’s about going above and beyond.  And it’s about promoting childhood immunizations in a way that exemplifies a commitment to change, even in the face of adversity or resistance.

IN-TornhoutThis year I’m proud to say that I know a true Champion, and she is a parent advocate just like many of you.  The truth is that Katie Van Tornhout didn’t need a formal award to be considered a Champion in my eyes, but I’m thrilled to know that her passion and commitment are being recognized by people who devote their entire professional lives to promoting childhood immunizations.

callie_van_tornhoutI came to know Katie in a very unfortunate way.  After five years and four miscarriages, Katie and Craig Van Tornhout celebrated the birth of their daughter Callie in 2010.   Although their baby arrived a few weeks early, she was truly a miracle.  Despite the fact that they had barely left the house with Callie after her birth, their joy quickly turned to grief when a disease called pertussis, also known as whooping cough, claimed her life at just 38 days old.

It is in these challenging moments of adversity that we are often tested, and yet it was through the pain and sorrow of their loss that the Van Tornhouts – along with their angel Callie – have become forceful agents of change.  Since losing her daughter, Katie has been determined to spare other children from pertussis and prevent other parents from suffering a similar tragedy. Read more…

Immunization Provides the Power to Protect

April 22, 2013 6 comments

niiw-logo-color-englishState 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. Read more…

Brady’s Battle with Pertussis

April 25, 2012 54 comments

pertussis112315Since infants don’t begin receiving vaccinations for many diseases until they are two months old, they remain vulnerable to diseases, such as pertussis, at a time when they are also the most fragile.  Pertussis, may just seem like a persistent  cough to an adult, but it can be deadly to a young child.  When adolescents and adults receive their Tdap booster vaccine, they not only help protect themselves from pertussis, but they also help reduce the spread of the disease to young children.

In a recent interview with WWLP News out of Chicopee, MA, Barbara Stechenberg,  Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at  Baystate Children’s Hospital, explains

“One of the important things to know is most babies who develop whooping cough get it from an older child or an adult in the family,” said Dr. Stechenberg.

It only takes one tragedy – like that experienced by Jonathan Alcaide and Kathy Riffenburg, who recently loss their son Brady – to remind us that we can help protect one another  from this highly contagious disease.  

Brady was a healthy and happy baby when he was born on November 20, 2011.  As excited as they were about his arrival, they thought they were taking every precaution with their son.  They even insisted that visitors wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they were permitted to pick him up.

But then in early January, they noticed Brady was coming down with what they assumed was a cold.  When his fever spiked to 104 they brought him to the ER where they completed a multitude of tests.  They finally sent him home, requesting that they keep an eye on the cold.

Kathy kept her friends and family updated on Brady’s condition through her own Facebook posts. Read more…