National Infant Immunization Week 2015: Protect the ones who cannot protect themselves

April 20, 2015

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 18 – April 25, 2015, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges all Georgians to protect infants from vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring our little ones, and everyone around them, are vaccinated and up-to-date on their immunization schedules.

“Vaccines are crucial to protecting children before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Sheila Lovett, interim director of the Georgia Immunization Program. “Immunization is a shared responsibility and we as parents, family, friends and health care providers can help keep our children and communities protected by staying current on our immunization schedule. We urge parents to speak with their pediatrician or health care provider at every visit to make sure their infant is up-to-date on vaccinations.”

According to the most recent data available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Survey, Georgia immunization rates for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) were below the national average, ranking them 39th compared to other states.

Similar to national trends, the number of pertussis cases in Georgia increased in 2014 with 396 pertussis cases reported to DPH compared to the 269 cases reported in 2013. Of those 396 pertussis cases reported in 2014, 99 (26.8%) were infants less than 12 months of age.

NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.

According to the CDC, the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history.

Scientists, doctors and health care professionals give vaccines to children only after long, thorough and careful review. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for most children. Vaccination is the best way to protect others you care about from vaccine-preventable diseases.

DPH encourages everyone – in observance of National Infant Immunization Week – to protect the little ones who cannot yet protect themselves: contact your pediatrician or your local public health department to ensure your infant is up-to-date on vaccinations. 

For more information on vaccinations, visit DPH’s Immunizations Section online.

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