Immunization is a shared responsibility. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. Vaccines not only help protect our children, but can also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 21 – April 28, 2018, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges Georgians to speak with a health care provider or doctor to make sure their infants are up-to-date on vaccinations.
“One of the best ways to protect our children is to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations,” said Reomona Thomas, RN, immunization coordinator. “An equally important way to protect our children is to ensure families and friends are current on their vaccinations to protect the little ones.”
NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
In Georgia, according to health professionals with the Southwest Health District, we have now seen multiple cases of pertussis in Dougherty County. Because pertussis is a highly contagious virus that can lead to serious complications and death in infants, it’s important for parents (including pregnant mothers) to make sure their families are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
* Two doses given at least four weeks apart are recommended for children aged 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting a flu vaccine for the first time and for some other children in this age group.
- Two doses of HepA vaccine are needed for lasting protection. The first dose of HepA vaccine should be given between 12 months and 23 months of age. The second dose should be given 6 to 18 months later. HepA vaccination may be given to any child 12 months and older to protect against HepA. Children and adolescents who did not receive the HepA vaccine and are at high-risk, should be vaccinated against HepA.
For children who are underinsured or whose parents/guardians may not be able to afford vaccines, there is an assistance program called Vaccines for Children (VFC), which provides eligible children with vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule, at no cost for the vaccines. This program 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.
Vaccination is the best way to protect others you care about from vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the CDC, the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Scientists, doctors and health care professionals give vaccines to children only after long and careful review. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for most children.
For more information on vaccinations, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section.