National Infant Immunization Week

Monday, April 26, 2010

This week is National Infant Immunization Week. We need to remember the importance of vaccinating children in order to give them the best chance of growing up in good health, as well as doing what we can to keep our communities healthy. According to the Center for Disease Control, immunizations have decreased, and in some cases completely eliminated, many infectious diseases. These same diseases were at one time responsible for killing many individuals…more often than not, young children. These diseases include diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, smallpox, Whooping Cough, and tetanus.

While it is true that infants are immune from many diseases due to their mothers’ antibodies, this immunity does not last forever…typically only from one month to a year. Further, there may be no immunity from the mother in certain cases (such as Whooping Cough). While it is also true that the diseases we worried about fifty years ago have almost all been eradicated in the US, it only takes one case to develop into hundreds of thousands if we stop immunizing.

There has been a great deal of misinformation about vaccines in recent years. No one is claiming that immunizations come risk free, but experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that not immunizing poses a greater risk. If you would like more information, these resources may be helpful.

• Do Vaccines Cause That?! - A Guide for Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns

• American Academy of Pediatrics - Childhood Immunization Support Program

• Responding to Concerns About Vaccines

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or 800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)

• American Academy of Pediatrics

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