Infants most at risk of infectious disease

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Moultrie, Ga.—Because vaccine-preventable diseases are at an all-time low in the United States, parents—especially first-time parents—are often unaware their children are at risk for serious and life-threatening diseases, warns Southwest District Health Immunization Coordinator Sue Dale.

“The annual observance of National Infant Immunization Week highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dale said. “It also celebrates the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities.”

This year’s observance is April 24 – May 1.

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“Immunization coverage rates in the United States for vaccines routinely recommended for infants and young children are at record highs,” said Dale. “Despite that, over 1 million children lack adequate immunization and an estimated 12,000 babies are born annually in the U.S. who need to be vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.”

By age 2, children should receive vaccine to protect them from polio, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, German measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, pneumococcal disease, influenza and Haemophilus influenza Type B.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death, Dale said.

“They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases,” Dale said.

Immunizations are extremely safe, she said.

“They are thoroughly tested before being approved for public use and monitored carefully by doctors, researchers and public health officials.”

For more information about immunizations, contact your local county health department or go online to