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North Central Health District

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Immunization Gives you the Power to Protect Your Child

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National Infant Immunization Week is Recognized April 21 – 28, 2018

Raising an infant means you would do anything to help them grow up healthy and safe. You watch them as they explore new places and you baby proof your home against potential hazards. What about the hazards you can’t see that can cause serious illness, disability, or even death in young children? Immunization gives you the power to protect your child from serious childhood diseases. No matter what parenting challenges come your way, there are many reasons to vaccinate.

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 21 – 28, 2018, and the 13 county health departments of North Central Health District (NCHD) urge all parents across Georgia to speak with a health care provider to make sure their infants are up-to-date on vaccinations.

“The first step to protect our children against serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses is to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations,” said NCHD Immunization Coordinator Judy McChargue. “However, children are not the only ones who need vaccines. Family members and friends should be current on their immunizations to protect themselves, children and the community as a whole.”

NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases. Thanks to vaccines, most young parents have never seen the devastating effects diseases like polio, measles or whooping cough (pertussis) can have on a child, family or community. It’s easy to think these are diseases of the past, but they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases. In fact, when vaccination rates are low in a community, it’s not uncommon to have an outbreak. Vaccination is the best way to protect others you care about from these 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.

Although your child may experience some discomfort or tenderness at the injection site, this is minor compared to the serious complications that can result from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects from vaccines are very rare. Nearly all children can be safely vaccinated. Children unable to receive immunizations include:

  • Children with allergies to something in a vaccine.
  • Children with weakened immune systems due to an illness or a medical treatment, such as chemotherapy.

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.

“We want to make sure every child has the protection they need to fight off illnesses and prevent long-lasting health impacts,” said McChargue. “All children deserve to grow up healthy. Vaccines give parents the opportunity to ensure that they do so.”

For more information on vaccinations, visit NCHD52.org/Vaccines or contact your local county health department.

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