National Infant Immunization Week (April 16-23) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from serious vaccine-preventable disease like whooping cough, measles, and influenza.
Immunization is a process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. 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. 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. (CDC)
Immunization Is a Shared Responsibility
Parents and child care providers protect children from safety risks on a daily basis and ensuring that children are properly immunized is no exception. It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
Download the recommended vaccination schedule for children 0-6 years of age (PDF).
Each state decides which immunizations are required for a child’s enrollment and attendance at a child care program or school. In addition, these requirements may be updated and changed frequently. Your state’s health department will be able to help you understand state-specific requirements.
National Infant Immunization Week offers a chance to discuss the timing and importance of flu vaccinations. It is still not too late to be vaccinated and only takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop antibodies for protection against influenza. According to the CDC, this flu season started a little later than it has during the previous three flu seasons. The season also peaked later than usual and activity has remained elevated later also.
Babies who were previously too young to get the flu vaccination, but who are now 6 mo. of age can now receive it. To protect children younger than six months, adult caregivers and other contacts should get vaccinated to reduce the risk of contagion. This is referred to as ‘cocooning’ or protecting those who are not yet eligible for the vaccination.
View the weekly influenza summary map for the United States, updated weekly.
For more information visit the CDC's immunization information page.