The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department wants to remind families to make sure their children are up-to-date with their vaccines.
National Infant Immunization Week is April 21 to 28. This annual observance promotes the benefits of immunizations and focuses on the importance of immunizing children age two and under. The U.S. will join together with 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere to concurrently promote the need for routine vaccinations for infants and children.
Immunizations are one of the most effective ways parents can protect their children against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. Each day, 11,000 babies are born in the United States who will need to be immunized against these diseases before the age of two. The diseases are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, influenza, varicella (chicken pox), HIB (haemophilus influenzae type b) rotavirus, hepatitis A and pneumococcal disease. These diseases are serious and can cause complications like deafness, meningitis, paralysis or death.
"Many of these diseases still occur in the U.S. and children who are not immunized increase the chance that they and others will get a vaccine-preventable disease," said Barbara Schnitker, Director of Nurses at the Health Department.
Parents are encouraged to check their children's immunization records to make sure they have received shots at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12 months of age. By the time they are 2 years of age, children should have received the following doses: four DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), three polio, one MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), four HIB, one varicella, four pneumococcal and three hepatitis B.
Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease, therefore it is critical they are protected through immunizations.
For more information, call the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at 843-07