Online Staff Report
Each year, numerous vaccine-preventable illnesses are reported in Illinois. Certain diseases, such as measles, are making a comeback as some parents choose to either delay or decline vaccinations for their children.
In observance of National Infant Immunizations Week, April 26 to May 3, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) is reminding parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect their infants and children by providing immunity early in life.
WCHD Family Health Services Supervisor Mary Weyand, R.N., noted: “Your baby’s protection begins at birth with that very first dose of Hepatitis B. Your doctor or health clinic can guide you in determining what your baby needs and at what age. Along with the routine well child visits, you will be giving your child a healthy start with the best protection against serious childhood diseases. Immunizations not only provide individual protection to each child, but protect the health of the entire community.”
The WCHD’s Pediatric Immunization Program works to prevent the spread of illness by vaccinating children for protection against a variety of diseases. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Last year, the program provided more than 3,498 vaccinations for infants and school-aged children. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world. In 2013, the WCHD investigated 60 cases of the vaccine-preventable illness pertussis.
One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases or outbreaks that were reported in 2013. Data from 2013 showed a higher-than-normal number of measles cases nationally and in individual states, including an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City that was the largest reported outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1996.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Diseases that vaccines protect against include chickenpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rotavirus, haemophilus influenza type b, pneumococcus, and influenza.
For the 2014 infant immunizations schedule, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html.
For more information or to make a childhood immunization appointment through the WCHD’s Pediatric Immunization program, call (815) 720-4370, or the Blackhawk Park School Linked Health Center at (815) 972-7200, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.wchd.org.
The WCHD is a member of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC), a 501 (c)(4) organization of public health departments. Members include the health departments of the City of Chicago, the Village of Skokie, and the counties of Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and Winnebago. These organizations are promoting in unison the importance of immunizations in observance of National Infant Immunizations Week.
Posted April 24, 2014