Immunization. Power to Protect.
National Infant Immunization Week is April 27-May 4, 2019
Each year, the Southern Nevada Health District joins with its local, state, and federal partners to highlight the importance of protecting infants and children from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements immunization programs have made in promoting healthier communities. Since 1994, National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) has been a time to celebrate the critical role vaccination has played in protecting our children, families, and communities.
This year, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of NIIW. It is a fitting time to commemorate this milestone and raise awareness of the importance of vaccines as reports of outbreaks of diseases such as measles are occurring in communities throughout the United States and two cases have recently been confirmed right here in Southern Nevada.
As parents, you want to do what is best for your children. You research the best car seats, baby gates, and the most up-to-date health information. These are measures that are important for protecting your children. However, ensuring your children’s vaccinations are up-to-date is vital to protecting them and keeping them healthy. Here are five important reasons to vaccinate your children:
- Immunizations can save your child’s life. Some vaccine-preventable diseases that once caused serious long-term health issues or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the United States – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the positive impact that vaccines have had in our country. Polio was once one of the most feared diseases, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979. International vaccination efforts have helped eradicate wild poliovirus from all but a few areas of the world today.
- Vaccination is very safe and effective. All vaccines that are given to children are carefully reviewed by scientists, doctors, and health care professionals. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reactions, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much higher than the possible side effects for almost all children.
- Immunizations protect others you care about. Vaccine-preventable diseases still exist and circulate in the United States, and we are experiencing a resurgence of some viruses such as measles and whooping cough (pertussis). When babies are too young to be vaccinated, or children cannot be vaccinated because of certain medical conditions, they are protected when those around them are appropriately vaccinated against these diseases. We call this “herd immunity.” To protect those most at-risk, it is important that you and your children who can get vaccinated are fully immunized.
- Immunizations can save you time and money. If a child becomes ill with a vaccine-preventable disease, he or she can be excluded from school or day care until there is no longer a risk for infecting others. More importantly, some vaccine preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities that lead to lost time at work, medical bills, or long-term disability care. Getting vaccinated is a long-term investment in the health of your children, your family, and your community.
- Immunization protects the future. Vaccines have reduced diseases and in some cases eliminated diseases that killed or severely disabled people. Today, children in the United States are vaccinated against rubella (German measles), dramatically reducing the risk that pregnant women will acquire the virus. Birth defects associated with this virus are now seen in only rare cases in this country when a pregnant woman who was never vaccinated against rubella is exposed to someone who contracted it in another country.
This is not an exhaustive list of the reasons why you should protect your children by making sure they are appropriately immunized. We are making it an easy and fun occasion for the whole family by joining with our partners to once again host this year’s Baby Fest Immunizations and Health Fair. The event is Friday, May 3 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., at our main location at 280 S. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89107. Admission to the event is free. There will be family resources, free or low-cost immunizations for eligible infants, toys, and raffle prizes for families in attendance. For more information go to the Health District website at www.SNHD.info/niiw.