PARENTS URGED TO MAKE SURE INFANTS GET VACCINES

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April 21-28 is National Infant Immunization Week

April 21, 2012 (San Diego County) -- There  are 14 childhood diseases that could sicken children. The good news is that all of them can be prevented by vaccines. April 21-28 is National Infant Immunization Week which was created in 1994 to remind parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure infants are fully immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.

As part of the County’s Live Well, San Diego! initiative to help ensure the health of local residents., County health officials are encouraging parents to make sure their children have received the recommended vaccines.

“Vaccines are the safest and most effective ways parents can protect their children against disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., Public Health Officer for San Diego County. “I am urging parents to protect their children by starting their shots on time and staying on schedule. Immunizations prevent disease, disability, and in the worst of cases, death.”

Parents should ask their doctor or clinic to check their child’s immunization record and make sure their baby is up-to-date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends infants get shots at birth, 2, 4, 6, 12, 15, and 18 months of age to protect them against many diseases including measles, meningitis and whooping cough.

Surveys indicate that vaccination coverage in San Diego County is at a near all-time high. However, about 45,000 babies are born every year and they should be immunized on time to stay healthy.

Babies are not the only ones who should be vaccinated. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, and babysitters also need to be up to date. High immunization coverage levels mean fewer people get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“No child, adolescent, or adult should suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease,” Wooten said. “Immunizations are among the most successful and cost-effective things parents can do to protect their children from serious disease.”

For more information on immunizations and the diseases they prevent, parents should contact their health care provider, visit www.sdiz.org or call the County Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966