National Infant Immunization Week Underscores Need for Children to be Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

immunizingIncreasing numbers of cases of measles and mumps in New Jersey and the nation underscores the need for everyone-especially children-to be up-to-date on immunizations especially as the summer travel season approaches.

According to the CDC, nationally measles has infected 129 people in 2014, the most in the first four months of any year since 1996. People infected abroad continue to spark outbreaks among pockets of unvaccinated people in New York, Ohio, California and other states. Thirty four of the 129 cases nationwide were imported through international travel.

“Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their infants from serious childhood diseases before age 2,” said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “Through immunization, we have made great strides in drastically reducing infant death and disability in the United States.”

So far this year, there have been 3 measles cases in New Jersey-two related to international travel-and an additional eight cases are under investigation. Last year, New Jersey had 15 cases, 12 of which were in one family, after international travel. Nationally, there were 189 cases last year, compared with 55 cases in 2012.

New Jersey is currently experiencing an outbreak of mumps at Stevens Institute of Technology. Eight cases of mumps have been identified among students attending the school.

In addition, there continues to be widespread flu activity across New Jersey. It is especially important for young children and pregnant women to get flu shots to protect themselves and their families-children under 5 and pregnant women are at high risk for complications such as hospitalization. Since 2007 there have been 21 pediatric flu deaths, which include two this flu season.

“Since the flu is still circulating, it is not too late for parents to take their children to get vaccinated if they haven’t been yet this flu season,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “Influenza activity usually peaks in January, but illnesses can occur as late as May. Currently, we are seeing Type B flu, which typically occurs later in the season.”

This week marks the 20th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week, which is designed to raise awareness about the importance of childhood immunizations. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians otherwise, could not afford them.

Each year, the Department supports public health agencies and healthcare providers across New Jersey as they hold special events to promote the critical importance of vaccinating infants and to improve the health of children. To view a full listing of events please visit: http://nj.gov/health/cd/documents/niiw.pdf

For the 20th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week, the New Jersey Department of Health is encouraging public health and medical professionals to organize and participate in activities to promote timely, age-appropriate vaccination.

As part of National Infant Immunization Week, Department staff Jenish Sudhakaran, MPH, Jennifer Smith, MPH, CHES, and Elizabeth Zaremski, MPH, will participate in a webinar targeted to child care and preschool leaders, school nurses and administrators and local and state health departments to provide an overview on vaccine preventable diseases and New Jersey’s school immunization regulations. This webinar is hosted by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and New Jersey Immunization Network.

The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines recommended for children remain at or near record levels. According to the 2012 National Immunization Survey, nearly 75 percent of New Jersey children ages 19-35 months received the recommended vaccine doses compared to the national average of approximately 72 percent. These vaccines provide protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis B and chickenpox.

The VFC program has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization and has made a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities. Last year, more than 1.8 million doses of free or low-cost vaccinations were given to children through the program.

National Infant Immunization Week will be celebrated as part of World Immunization Week, an initiative of the World Health Organization. During World Immunization Week, all six WHO regions, including more than 180 Member States, territories, and areas, will simultaneously promote immunization, advance equity in the use of vaccines and universal access to vaccination services, and enable cooperation on cross-border immunization activities.

For more information about NIIW, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html. [TLS]

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Did you get the PEACH magazine? Read it. It was very informing and scary to learn the risks of vaccination. I believe them over the CDC since they have no money involved and they are not a billion dollar indusry like the insurance and vaccine companies.

  2. Hear we go again with vaccinations being a money making scheme…Tylenol makes a bunch of money off of other people’s pain, you going to not use it either?

  3. i don’t trust people who have an agenda who go so far as to put out a publication! why bother? believe what you believe, but why invest effort – and especially money – in getting me to agree with you?? something smells about that little magazine… do what you want, but why is worth your thousands of dollars to publish and distribute something so that i do it too??

  4. I agree with #3. In addition, we do they need to cite studies from one individual that took place in 1990! Most of the risks that they mentioned were based on single studies from over 20 years ago! If you read through carefully, you’ll notice that there are a lot of holes.

  5. i personally know 2 children who had vaccine injury. there are some children that are “allergic” and have a really bad reaction to shots and can be impaired for the rest of their lives from it. who says the benefits outweigh the risks.
    if your child were to get sick from one of the diseases we immunize for you will say the benefit outweighs the risk
    if your child were to have a vaccine injury you will say the benefit does not outweigh the risks and you would definitely stop vaccinating your child and probably your other children too.

    we should have a right and be free to choose whether or not we want to immunize our children.

  6. My grandmother had a baby who died at the age of five months from one of the childhood diseases that vaccines can now prevent. Sixty years later when I asked her about it, she cried over the loss of her beautiful little girl as if it had just happened.

    People don’t take it seriously because they haven’t seen the devastation and tragedies of epidemics. Baruch Hashem we have vaccines, and the death of babies and young children is now rare and not common as it used to be. Without being consciously aware of it, people who refuse to vaccinate their children are relying on “herd immunity.” But if too many chidren are unvaccinated, outbreaks of disease can occur in the community, as we are seeing with mumps and measles. Mumps can cause sterility, especially in boys who catch the disease after puberty. A few shots can prevent so much heartbreak and tragedy. Any child who is not vaccinated becomes a rodef against all the other children in the community.

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