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Health Department: National Infant Immunization Week (April 24-May 1)

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The Allegany County Department of Health would like to remind residents that April 24-May 1, 2021 is National
Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). This year’s theme is the Power to Protect. NIIW is a yearly observance
highlighting the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases
(VPDs). This year, in particular, it’s critical to ensure that families stay on track for children’s routine checkups
and recommended vaccinations — even during COVID-19.


A Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) report released in May 2020 found a troubling drop in routine childhood vaccination as a result of families staying at home. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommend that children stay on track with their well-child appointments and routine vaccinations even
during the pandemic. As in-person learning and play become more common, on-time vaccination is even more
urgent to help provide immunity against 14 serious diseases.


NIIW focuses on the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children. Healthcare professionals are on the front lines of the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that routine immunization of children born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations, and 936,000 early deaths over their lifetimes, at a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.88 trillion in total economic impact.

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great
deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system can handle getting
all vaccines when they are recommended. There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination. In fact, it puts
babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to catch serious diseases during the time they are
not protected by vaccines.

Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination
is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still
be common in many parts of the world and unvaccinated individuals can bring them to the U.S., putting
unvaccinated people at risk.

Despite being eliminated in the US, measles cases and outbreaks continue to be reported. For example, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2019, with 1,282 cases. This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. The majority of people were unvaccinated and brought back measles to the United States after being exposed to someone who had measles while in another country. For measles resources and information on vaccination recommendations, including for children traveling internationally, visit www.cdc.gov/measles.


Protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is even born. All pregnant women are recommended to receive the whooping cough vaccine, or Tdap during each pregnancy. The recommended time to get the shot is the 27th through the 36th week of pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. This will help protect babies from whooping cough until they can receive their first whooping cough vaccine at 2 months. Learn more about the Center for Disease Control’s Born With Protection campaign at www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant. Learn more about maternal vaccination at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy.


If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, talk with your child’s doctor. For more information about vaccinations or to make an appointment for yourself or your child call the Allegany County Department of Health at 585-268-9250. For more information about services and immunization clinics provided by the Allegany County Department of Health go to www.alleganyco.com click on “Government”, then “Health”.


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