West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources joins partners across
the country and the world to celebrate national Infant Immunization week, April
are so important for children in West Virginia in light of recent outbreaks of
measles and whooping cough in other states,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L.
Bowling said. “Protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is
born, with the mom-to-be receiving a simple Tdap shot in the third trimester.”
Each year, thousands
of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic
childhood immunizations. Countless more miss time from school because they are
“Vaccines are among
the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for
preventing disease and death,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and
Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health. “They not only help protect vaccinated
individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and
reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”
Giving children the
recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14
serious childhood diseases.
current coverage rate of two year olds is seventh lowest in the country. The
immunization rate increases dramatically to one of the best in the nation,
however, when children receive vaccinations that are required as they begin
school. But the gap means many children are susceptible to diseases such
as measles and whooping cough, which can easily be prevented with vaccines.
The West Virginia
Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines free to children who are
underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them.
The 14 serious
childhood vaccine-preventable diseases are: 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).
For more information contact: Sarah Lieu, Public Information Specialist, Division of Immunization Services, Telephone: (304) 356-4099 or firstname.lastname@example.org