BERWYN – Each year, approximately 170,000 babies are born in Illinois who need to be immunized against 14 diseases before the age of two. In observance of National Infant Immunizations Week, April 20-27, the Cook County Department of Public Health is reminding parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect their infants and children by providing immunity early in life.
Because of the success of vaccines in preventing diseases, parents may not have heard of some of today’s vaccines, or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the word. Continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks.
Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable disease is the increase in whooping cough (pertussis) cases or outbreaks that have been reported in a majority of states during 2012. Today, there are cases in every state, and the country is on track to have the most reported cases since 1959. As of November 2012, more than 35,000 cases have been reported across the United States, including 16 deaths. In 2012, 460 cases were reported in suburban Cook County, the highest number in several decades.
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 and tetanus. For the 2013 infant immunizations schedule, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html