April 16, 2013
Health Officials: “Immunization is a Shared Responsibility”
From April 20 - 27, Suffolk County will join communities around the world to recognize the critical role immunization plays in safeguarding children, communities and public health. Each day, nearly 12,000 babies who are born in the U.S. will need to be immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
“Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease, parents often are unaware that their children are at risk for so many serious and potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Health Services in Suffolk County. “Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.”
Dr. Tomarken offers five important reasons why immunizations need to be a top priority.
- Immunizations can save children… from diseases, such as polio, that once injured or killed thousands of children in the United States.
- Immunizations are safe and effective … and given to children only after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals.
- Immunization protects others … from getting preventable diseases such as hepatitis, measles, polio and pneumonia. Babies who are too young to be fully immunized, immune-compromised individuals, pregnant women and older adults, are among those who are particularly vulnerable to disease. To help keep them safe, be sure that you and your children are fully immunized.
- Immunization saves time and money. Vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, immunization is a good investment and usually covered by insurance.
- 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. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
Parents should take the time now to make sure that their infant is up-to-date on immunizations. Parents who do not have health insurance are advised to contact the Vaccines for Children program, a federally funded program that provides no-cost vaccines to children from low-income families. More about the VFC program: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfcprogram. Recommended immunizations for children: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf