Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has proclaimed April 18–25 Nevada Infant Immunization Week to coincide with the annual national observance of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW).
The state and national observance of NIIW highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States.
Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age 2 is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles — among others. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to ensure that their baby is up to date on immunizations. A complete vaccination schedule can be accessed at www.immunizenevada.org/vaccineschedule.
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective tools available for preventing disease and even death,” said Immunize Nevada Executive Director Heidi Parker. “The key is making sure they’re used, following the recommended schedule.”
The CDC says that vaccines not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but they also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Among children born between 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines to children who are underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. The VFC program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule and has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.
Protecting babies before they’re born
Protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is even born. The CDC recommends that pregnant women receive the whooping cough vaccine, or Tdap, during the third trimester of their pregnancy to help protect their babies from whopping cough until they can receive their first whooping cough vaccine at 2 months.
“Vaccines have been successful, which means that many of us don’t really understand how serious the diseases are that they prevent,” Parker explained. “But vaccine-preventable diseases still exist, as evidenced by the measles outbreak last month. This makes it so important for all parents to educate themselves and to protect their children.”
“And the reality is, these diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children,” Parker continued. “That is why the recommended immunization schedule protects infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.”
During the last week in April for the past 20 years, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined those in countries around the world to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting the health of our children, families and communities. The United States celebrates NIIW as part of World Immunization Week (April 24-30, 2015), an initiative of the World Health Organization.
Visit Immunize Nevada’s website for more information: www.immunizenevada.org/kids.
Immunize Nevada advocates for and educates about the benefits of vaccines and fosters statewide collaboration to achieve Nevada’s health priorities. Immunize Nevada’s vision is for healthy communities across Nevada being protected from vaccine-preventable disease. For more information, visit ImmunizeNevada.org.