Health Officials Celebrate National Infant Immunization Week
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today celebrated National Infant Immunization Week at My Family Preschool and Child Care Center in Hurricane to encourage parents of infants to schedule an immunization check-up for their child.
“National Infant Immunization Week provides a valuable opportunity to inform parents and the health care community about the importance of ensuring our children are timely and age-appropriately vaccinated,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. "Childhood immunization is the best way for parents to protect their children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases."
Immunizations offer security to others in the community including protection to vulnerable populations such as young children, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly through herd immunity. The more people that are vaccinated, the more protection there is from preventable, and sometimes fatal, diseases. Scientists estimate that vaccines given to infants and young children in the U.S. over the past 20 years will prevent more than 300 million illnesses over the course of their lifetime.
There are 14 vaccine preventable diseases that children can be protected from before the age of two: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Rotavirus, Haemophilus Influenzae type B, Tetanus (Lockjaw), Mumps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Pneumococcal Disease, Polio, Rubella (German Measles) and Varicella (Chickenpox).
This year’s theme, “Immunization - Power to Protect,” reminds parents of their ability to protect their child from disease by getting their children vaccinated. Dr. Gupta touted the importance of the role of health care providers in helping keep infants up-to-date on their immunization by using patient reminder recall systems.
“There remains more work to be done to help ensure more of West Virginia’s most vulnerable residents amongst us are vaccinated on time,” Gupta encouraged. “The recent resurgence of whooping cough, measles, hepatitis B and other vaccine preventable diseases is proof that we are not vaccinating enough young children, adolescents and adults.”
For more information on how vaccinations can protect your family, please contact the West Virginia Division of Immunization Services at 304-558-2188. You can also find immunization information and vaccine schedules online at www.immunization.wv.gov.
Media contact: DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899