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> NATIONAL INFANT IMMUNIZATION WEEK APRIL 24 – MAY 1, 2010

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 



TOMPKINS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 22, 2010

For more information contact:
Karen Bishop or Carol Mohler at 274-6604

 

NATIONAL INFANT IMMUNIZATION WEEK APRIL 24 – MAY 1, 2010

 
April 22, 2010 (Ithaca, N.Y.) — National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities.

Vaccines are among the most successful cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. William Klepack, MD, Medical Director at the Tompkins County Health Department reminds parents and caregivers that immunizations are one of the most important ways they can protect their children against serious diseases.  “Infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases. That is why it is important for children to be immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before the age of two,” he said.

Because of the success of vaccines in preventing diseases in the United States, parents are often unaware that their children are at risk for many serious diseases. For example, before the polio vaccine became available in the 1950’s, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year in the United States. Most were children who suffered life-long effects of the disease. Today, polio has been eradicated from the Western Hemisphere and the European and Western Pacific regions. But it still occurs in some countries and is endemic in a few. Stopping polio vaccination before eradication could result in a resurgence of the disease in this country and worldwide. Global travel is common today. A case of polio, mumps, measles or other vaccine-preventable disease in our community is only a plane ride away.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable disease in the United States. It causes prolonged coughing spells that can last for several weeks making it difficult to eat, drink and breathe. The highest rate of hospitalizations for pertussis is in infants 6 months of age and younger . Before immunization was available, 150,000 to 200,000 cases were reported annually. There were up to 9,000 deaths.

Dr. Klepack notes that immunization is a shared responsibility. He says, “Families, health care providers and public health must work together to help protect the entire community.”

Parents are encouraged to call their children’s health care provider for immunizations or they may call the Tompkins County Health Department at 274-6616.

For more information on childhood immunization schedules, vaccine safety and vaccine-preventable diseases go to www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health, www.health.state.ny.us and www.cdc.gov/vaccines

 

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