Support National Infant Immunization Week, April 26-May 2, 2009 — A Timely Message from FFF

Date: April 14, 2009

There has been a resurgence of whooping cough, which is threatening the health of infants and young children...

As a healthcare professional, you know that immunizations actively protect everyone - from infants to adults - against serious and deadly diseases. Many potential outbreaks of diseases such as mumps and chickenpox are now avoided, and still other diseases are virtually unheard of today thanks to widespread immunizations. We live in an era when most people have never seen a case of measles, never watched kids in the neighborhood die from whooping cough, or pulled their children out of school for fear of polio. Unfortunately, this has created a false sense of security about the ongoing need for timely vaccinations.

History has shown that low immunization rates lead to outbreaks of diseases that can be especially dangerous to young children. Approximately one million in the U.S. aren’t fully immunized by two years old, leaving them and their communities at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases.

According to the CDC, there has been a resurgence of whooping cough, which is threatening the health of infants and young children. More than 15,000 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) were reported in the U.S. in 2006. While most cases have been reported in adolescents and adults, newborns and infants who are often exposed to whooping cough by parents and siblings are most vulnerable to hospitalization and death.  Communities can be protected from exposure by ensuring that children receive all recommended immunizations, and by encouraging adolescent and adult vaccinations, including a booster dose of pertussis vaccine.

The resurgence of whooping cough should remind us of the importance of vaccination. That’s why the CDC is encouraging healthcare providers to plan activities in support of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 26- May 2, 2009. All around the country, public health partners, clinicians and parents will be working together to increase awareness of the importance of infant immunizations and to get children caught up on their immunizations. The goal is that every child is immunized “on time, every time” by two years old. What can providers do?

  • Remind parents not to wait until a child goes to school to catch up on immunizations.
  • Urge clinicians to use sick-visits to catch up on immunizations.
  • Renew your commitment to support and promote vaccination campaigns.
  • Urge healthcare providers and workers in your industry to get their own vaccinations, especially flu shots, so they don’t inadvertently spread infection.
  • Utilize the media as a tool to get the immunization message out.

Visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines for more information and resources to help you plan a campaign, see what other healthcare partners are doing, or download materials for both providers and parents.