Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. For 2017, NIIW is being observed on April 22-29.
Every parent understands the gravity of their responsibility to keep their child as healthy and safe as possible. But, did you know that vaccinating your child on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday?
Here are five important reasons to follow the recommended immunization schedule:
- Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio, America’s once most feared disease, is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had – the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979. This full immunization timeline documents our vaccine advancements since the 1700s and illustrates how far we’ve come.
- Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals to ensure that it is safe and effective. Following FDA approval and a recommendation from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), both the FDA and the CDC continue to monitor for potential adverse events to ensure that possible risks are identified. For more information about the robust process for ensuring vaccine safety – before and following approval – check out the CDC’s infographic, The Journey of Your Child’s Vaccine.
- Immunization protects others you care about. Unfortunately, children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Some babies are too young to be immunized and others may not be healthy enough to receive certain vaccinations – these individuals rely upon so-called “herd immunity” – the protection provided to a community when a critical mass of the population is vaccinated. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your able children get fully vaccinated. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones. Learn about state-based vaccination rates and disease outbreaks with an interactive infographic by clicking on the map below.
- Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare. Some of these diseases can result in prolonged (or lifelong) disabilities and can take a financial toll due to lost time at work, medical bills, or long-term disability care. The wise investment is to simply get vaccinated.
- Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many deadly diseases that affected countless children just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. If we continue to get completely vaccinated now, future generations of parents may no longer experience their children being exposed to today’s potentially life-threatening diseases.
Vaccines have proven to be one of the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. Today, we can celebrate high infant immunization rates thanks to the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit CDC’s vaccine website for parents.