(BINGHAMTON, NY) – Broome County Health Department is celebrating National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) from April 24- May 1, 2021. NIIW is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. Among children born during 1994-2016, vaccination will prevent an estimated 381 million illnesses, 24.5 million hospitalizations, and 855,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like polio, whooping cough and measles. Vaccines are rigorously and continuously monitored for safety once they are licensed or approved.
Although vaccines are in the spotlight due to COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that routine childhood immunization rates have decreased during the pandemic. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend keeping up with routine infant and childhood immunizations, despite the pandemic. “I encourage parents/ guardians to schedule a visit with their pediatrician to get caught up or stay on track with your child’s immunizations,” says Chelsea Reome-Nedlik, Public Health Educator with Broome County Health Department, “If you’re concerned about COVID-19 safety, rest assured that healthcare providers are taking every precaution to make office visits safe.”
Vaccine costs may be covered by your health insurance, or through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. VFC is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. Call the Broome County Health Department at 607-778-2839 with questions about the VFC program or your child’s immunizations.