Submitted on behalf of CentraCare Clinic’s pediatric providers
April 18-25 is National Infant Immunizations Week. This gives us another great reason to highlight the importance of immunizations.
Simply put, vaccines save lives. The best thing parents can do for their children’s health is to learn the facts about vaccines so they can make the best choices.
Thanks to our nation’s successful vaccination program, parents today have not witnessed the devastating effects of many diseases. Polio, for example, paralyzed millions of children worldwide before the vaccine was created.
Diseases such as hepatitis, pertussis and measles can still infect children who are not protected. Each year, the media publishes stories of disease outbreaks in under-vaccinated communities across the United States. Since 2010, we have been experiencing large outbreaks of pertussis across the country. In 2012, there were 48,277 cases of pertussis and 20 deaths; in 2013, there were more than 24,000 confirmed cases of pertussis in the United States; in 2014 there were 28,660 reported cases, and the outbreaks continue in 2015. Currently, there are a record number of measles cases in the United States. In 2014, 644 cases of measles were reported to the CDC and like pertussis, measles outbreaks are continuing to affect the United States in 2015. The majority of measles cases reported in 2014 were in people who were unvaccinated or who had an unknown vaccination status.
Past claims made regarding the safety of some childhood vaccines have been investigated by top researchers from around the world who concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any other chronic disorders.
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their children against serious diseases. We encourage parents to talk to their child’s doctor about any concerns they might have and ensure their infant is up-to-date on immunizations.