Protection by Prevention

September 4, 2013

Originally published April 24, 2012

Health districts across the state are gearing up for their annual observance ofNational Infant Immunization Week, the outreach initiative designed to protect infants from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and pertussis.

Efforts range from office displays and PSAs, to local newspaper features, health fairs or a combination of several endeavors.

In addition to various advertisements, Columbus Health District, will offer immunizations April 24 through 27 and April 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Columbus Department of Public Health, 2100 Comer Ave. in Columbus. Free hearing, vision and dental exams also will be offered for children ages 4 to 6.

The district includes Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Harris, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor and Webster counties.      

"The other counties do something too, but not to this magnitude because they're much smaller," said Dianne Robinson, Columbus Health District immunization coordinator. 

Robinson said the outreach is also an effort to ensure children are properly vaccinated before starting pre-K or kindergarten.

They are partnering with Safe Kids to provide car seats, helmets and other giveaways. 

Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness will participate in a full day of inservice for day care owners/managers April 26. Juliet Cooper, director of nursing, and Georgia Goseer, district immunization coordinator, will facilitate. They'll also provide lunch for attendees.

"We want to make them aware of what we need for day care audits," Goseer said.

Judy McChargue, district immunization coordinator for the North Central Health District, said she is working on securing donations of stuffed animals in each county to distribute to children who come in for immunizations. Jennifer Jones, the district's public information officer, is utilizing social media and local publications to get the word out, McChargue added.  

"I have been successful in Houston County and we have more than enough donations to offer every child that comes in that week a toy," McChargue said. 

It is important to vaccinate children on time, according to the childhood immunization schedule, to provide the best protection early in life, when babies are vulnerable and before they are likely to be exposed to diseases. The efforts taking place across the state of Georgia demonstrate the importance of immunizations to Public Health.

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