National Infant Immunization Week

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April 3, 2013

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, health care professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together through NIIW to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements.
NIIW, set for April 20-27, will be celebrated as part of World Immunization Week (WIW), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) scheduled for April 24-30.
Several important milestones already have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants and adults worldwide. Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In addition:
• Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.

• In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, few physicians just out of medical school will ever see a case of measles during their careers.

• Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.6 billion in direct costs.

• The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.
It’s easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases. For example, in 2012, more than 50 people were reported to have measles. In addition, in 2012, preliminary data from CDC reports more than 41,000 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in the US, including 18 deaths. Most of these deaths were in children younger than 1 year old. This was the highest number of pertussis cases in any one year in the US since 1955.
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