Springfield – Each year, thousands of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic childhood immunizations. Countless more miss time from daycare and school because they are under-immunized or inappropriately immunized. During National Infant Immunization Week, April 16-23, 2016, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) wants to raise awareness about the importance of childhood immunizations.
Illinois saw a measles outbreak in February 2015 in which 15 cases were associated with a daycare in northern Illinois. Of those 15 cases, 12 were infants too young to be immunized.
“While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases in your community.”
Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles. It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to fully protect infants and children early in life and before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Delaying vaccinations – or spreading shots or leaving shots out – puts children at risk. Young children who are behind on their recommended vaccinations can be quickly caught up to date to ensure full protection.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
You can find more information about immunizations and vaccine schedules on the IDPH website.
Photo: fot.Michael Reynolds/EPA