Power to protect

Crystal R. Albers/Lingle Guide Hogan Hoffman and mother, Darby, watch as he receives his flu shot Wednesday at Goshen County Public Health in Torrington. National Infant Immunization Week begins Saturday, April 27 and runs through Saturday, May 4.

GOSHEN COUNTY – Beginning Saturday, April 27, and running through Saturday, May 4, the U.S. will observe National Infant Immunization Week – an event designed to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Infant Immunization Week is now in its 25th year, and the CDC estimates routine immunization of children born between 1994 and 2018 will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations, and 936,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.88 trillion in total societal costs.

“As a parent, you want to protect your little one from harm,” Goshen County Public Health Director Kelly Beard said. “Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization schedule gives him the best protection against 14 serious childhood illnesses – like measles and whooping cough – before he is two years old.”

National Infant Immunization Week social media events and activities include:

Tuesday, April 30: #ivax2protect Twitter Storm

ν Join CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and What to Expect and share why you vaccinate during the #ivax2protect Twitter Storm on Tuesday, April 30, from 5 to 7 p.m.

ν Encourage your followers to share why they vaccinate on time and why they support immunization.

ν Continue the conversation and use the #ivax2protect hashtag throughout the week.

Thursday, May 2: Instagram Story Q&A

ν Parents of young children may join CDC for an Instagram live event answering parent’s vaccination questions on Thursday, May 2, 10 to 12 p.m.

ν Submit your questions during the event on the @CDCgov Instagram page.

The CDC website cdc.gov, states 2019 also marks the 25th anniversary of Vaccines for Children, a program in which Goshen County Public Health participates. VFC is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of their family’s inability to pay. The VFC program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule, and has helped increase childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.

“However, we are seeing an increase in the number of children under two years old who are receiving no vaccines,” the CDC said. “Data suggest(s) that many of these parents do want to vaccinate their children, but they may not be able to get vaccines for them. They may face hurdles, like not having a healthcare professional nearby, not having time to get their children to a doctor, and/or thinking they cannot afford vaccines.”

Beard also emphasized the importance of the whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy, and the measles, or MMR, vaccine.

“Protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is even born,” Beard relayed from the CDC. “All pregnant women are recommended to receive the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy. The recommended time to get the shot is during the 27th through 36th week of pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. This will help protect babies from whooping cough until they can receive their first whooping cough vaccine at two months.” Learn more about the CDC’s Born With Protection campaign at www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant. Learn more about maternal vaccination at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy.

In addition, despite being eliminated in the U.S., public health officials still report measles cases and outbreaks to the CDC. For example, the U.S. has already experienced outbreaks of measles during 2019. For measles resources and information on vaccination recommendations, including for children traveling internationally, visit www.cdc.gov/measles.

“Vaccination is a shared responsibility. Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.”

Call Goshen County Public Health a (307) 532-4069 to schedule an immunization appointment.

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