Spokane Regional Health District Observing National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28, 2012
SPOKANE, Wash. – April 19, 2012 – During the week of April 21-28, 2012, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) will observe National Infant Immunization Week, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative designed to raise awareness about the importance of childhood immunizations.
Each year, thousands of children become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by receiving all of their childhood immunizations on time. Countless children miss time from childcare and school because they are under-immunized or inappropriately immunized.
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”
In 2012, whooping cough, a vaccine-preventable disease, became a growing problem in our state, with the number of cases increasing by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2011. There were 912 cases for 2011 — the highest in six years. There were 608 cases reported in 2010. In recent years, adolescents and adults have accounted for an increasing proportion of cases.
Whooping cough affects people of all ages — but is most serious in infants, especially those too young to get vaccinated or who aren’t fully protected. It’s important for anyone who takes care of or has close contact with babies to get pertussis vaccine, ideally at least two weeks before beginning close contact with the infant. This includes siblings of infants who should be up-to-date on DTaP and other recommended immunizations.
Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community. SRHD encourages parents to talk to their child’s health care provider to ensure that their child is up-to-date on immunizations.
During National Infant Immunization Week, SRHD joins hundreds of communities across the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in safeguarding our children, communities and public health. SRHD offers childhood immunizations through its Public Health Clinic; appointments can be made by calling (509) 324-1600. Information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.