CDC Launches Back-to-School Infant Immunization Effort

CDC Launches Back-to-School Infant Immunization Effort

1 million infants in U.S. not fully immunized; risking exposure to whooping cough and more than a dozen other diseases, from older siblings, relatives, or playmates


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Atlanta, GA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–July 17, 2007–More than 20 per cent—about 1 million—of the nation’s 2-year-olds who are not immunized could catch any of the14 vaccine-preventable diseases from siblings, relatives, or playmates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is focusing much of its efforts on reaching Hispanic / Latino parents, caregivers and healthcare providers, since nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic / Latino children under age 3 have not been fully immunized.

This time of year, parents are preparing their older children to go back to school, including making sure they have received all required vaccines. However, in order to ensure that all children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, the CDC is urging parents and caregivers to also make sure their infants’ and toddlers’ immunizations are up-to-date before the start of school, when older siblings may bring home diseases. Because their immune systems are still developing, infants and young children are more susceptible to infectious diseases than their older siblings.

Besides the danger posed to individual infants, the CDC warned that low immunization rates could lead to outbreaks—or geographic clusters—of diseases that could be serious or even fatal to children who have not been fully immunized.

“Vaccines not only help protect children from developing potentially serious diseases, but they also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases,” said Assistant Surgeon General Anne Schuchat, M.D. “Our goal is that every child will be immunized on time, every time by 2 years old.”

The CDC is relying on collaboration—involvement of the media and community leaders—to get its message out. In addition, the CDC wants to make it clear that vaccines are safe and provide a good return on investment.

“Vaccines are safer and more effective than ever before,” Schuchat said. “Vaccines are also among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death.”

Media and others who wish to collaborate with the CDC can obtain campaign materials at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/default.htm.

CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations. For more information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

CDC Launches Back-to-School Infant Immunization Effort