Every year, we observe National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) as a time to raise awareness about immunization for children under two years old. This year’s NIIW is from April 24 to April 30, 2022.
Although most parents know that routine checkups are essential for their children’s health, it’s also not uncommon for families to skip checkups. However, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that your children attend their regular checkups and receive vaccinations.
Why do we observe National Infant Immunization Week?
Since infants’ immune systems are still developing, they are at a higher risk of contracting illnesses, including vaccine-prevented diseases (VPDs) such as whooping cough, chickenpox, influenza, and HIB, which can cause meningitis.
In young children, these illnesses can prove fatal. But there’s good news: they are entirely preventable.
The first National Infant Immunization Week was observed over 25 years ago in 1994, and it’s still important today to raise awareness and encourage families to vaccinate their children.
A worrying decline in infant immunizations
In May 2020, the CDC discovered a concerning decrease in the number of routine childhood vaccinations, likely due to stay-at-home orders and a continued inclination to stay indoors even after restrictions were lifted.
There are also families that simply don’t believe in vaccines—despite the evidence that vaccines work to prevent life-threatening illnesses. When the smallpox vaccine was mandated for children, anti-vax protesters emerged, and we saw the same pattern arise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who actively choose not to vaccinate their children are usually concerned with the same things: government overreach, potential side effects, and alternative natural remedies. Other parents simply overlook the importance of vaccines.
Either way, it’s essential that parents don’t give in to fear, overwhelm, or distractions. Instead, they must look at the facts and make the best decision possible for their children.
Infant immunizations protect your children
Infant immunizations save millions of lives every year—and your child’s life could be one of them. There are over ten serious diseases that infant immunizations protect children from, including those listed here.
As you read about each of these illnesses, have peace of mind knowing that each one is entirely preventable.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend that children should receive their first hepatitis B shot as a newborn before they even leave the hospital.
Hepatitis B is a common disease that spreads through bodily fluids. Left untreated, it can cause liver failure and cancer, and it’s more dangerous in children since kids usually experience no symptoms.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
The DTaP vaccine protects children against three common illnesses: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The CDC recommends you vaccinate your children between 1-2 months against these infections.
Diphtheria is an infection that affects your nose and throat. Children will experience difficulty breathing, sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
Tetanus is a serious and incurable bacterial infection. It causes muscle spasms, lockjaw, and death.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It causes a severe cough, congestion, and sneezing.
The smallpox vaccine was developed over 200 years ago by Edward Jenner. This was the very first vaccine ever developed against a contagious disease.
Measles, mumps, and rubella.
The MMR vaccine is a single vaccine that protects children against three illnesses: measles, mumps, and rubella. These diseases each have distinctive symptoms, including a red rash and enlarged lymph nodes. They are extremely contagious and often spread through contact, coughing, sneezing, and sharing drinks.
The first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s, and it prevents children from contracting polio, a viral infection that can cause paralysis and lead to death.
Pneumococcal disease is an umbrella term that refers to conditions caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. These conditions include pneumonia, meningitis, and sinusitis, which can be fatal.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrheal diseases in infants and young children, and most children will contract rotavirus at least once before they are five years old. Rotavirus vaccines prevent up to 96% of severe diarrhea in the developed world, which can leave children severely dehydrated.
How you can observe Infant Immunization Week
National Infant Immunization Week is an important time in the US to help raise awareness about the effectiveness of vaccines and encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
If you want to help support NIIW, you can:
- Post messages on social media
- Add NIIW banners to your social media pages or websites
- Write or share articles about infant immunization
- Talk about infant immunization with your friends, families, or parent groups
- Vaccinate your children against disease
Do you have questions about infant immunization?
If you have questions about infant immunizations, reach out to your pediatrician, OBGYN, or primary care physician. Your doctors can help you decide which, if any, immunizations you or your children need and answer any questions you may have.
For more information about Women’s Health, or If you’re looking for an OBGYN in the Cincinnati area, call us at 513-241-4774, or schedule your appointment.