National Infant Immunization Week is a week set aside each year to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine preventable disease. Children, especially infants, are at higher risk for disease. You can protect your infant by getting them vaccinated on time. Why should you immunize your baby? Here are five important reasons why:
- Immunizations can save your child’s life. Children today can be protected from more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been nearly wiped out in many parts of the world, mostly due to vaccines. For example, polio was once one of the most feared diseases in children, but today there are no reports of polio in the United States.
- Vaccines are safe and effective. All vaccines that are given to children are thoroughly reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for safety. Of course shots may hurt for a minute, and may even cause short-term pain or redness at the site of the shot for a few days, however, that is a small price to pay compared to the pain and discomfort associated with the diseases they prevent.
- Immunizations protect others you care about. Serious vaccine-preventable diseases still occur. Unfortunately, some babies are too young to be completely vaccinated and others may not be able to be vaccinated because of allergies or a weakened immune system. Getting your children vaccinated not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of diseases to your friends and other loved ones.
- Immunizations can save your family time and money. Children who have a vaccine-preventable disease may not be able to attend school or daycare for many days. Vaccines not only prevent disease but also can reduce the costs associated with missed time from work, doctor visits, and hospitalizations. Vaccines are usually covered by insurance. If you do not have health insurance, call the Onondaga County Health Department at 435-2000 to learn more about where you can get vaccines for your baby.
- Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced, and in some cases eliminated, many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, the smallpox vaccination helped to eliminate the disease worldwide. Children today no longer need to be vaccinated against smallpox because the disease no longer exists. Continuing to vaccinate our children today protects future generations as well.
During National Infant Immunization Week, it is important to remember the benefits of having your children receive their shots on time. For more information on vaccines, call the Onondaga County Immunization Program at 435-2000.