National Infant Immunization Week, or NIIW, is April 27th through May 4th, 2019, celebrating its 25th Anniversary! It is observed each year to highlight the importance of protecting infants from preventable diseases. It also celebrates the achievements of immunization programs and the partners that promote healthy communities. NIIW is celebrated as part of World Immunization Week (WIW), which is led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are several milestones in controlling vaccine preventable diseases among infants worldwide that have already been achieved. These include:
- Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States.
- Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
- Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents an estimated 381 million illnesses, 24.5 million hospitalizations, and 855,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes, a net savings of $360 billion in direct costs and $1.65 trillion in total societal costs.
- The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.
As published by the CDC, one example of a serious vaccine preventable disease is measles, which had an increase in reported cases/outbreak in 2014. The U.S. had a record number of cases that year with 667, the greatest number of cases since measles was eradicated in 2000.
The CDC encourages you to raise awareness during National Infant Immunization Week by considering the following opportunities:
- Highlights the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially to infants and young children, and the importance and benefits of childhood immunization.
- Educates parents and caregivers about the importance of vaccination in protecting their children from birth against vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Focuses attention on immunization achievements and celebrates the accomplishments made possible through successful collaboration.
- Increases efforts to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases and thereby give them a healthy start in life.
- Encourages better communication between parents and healthcare professionals.
- Reminds parents and caregivers of the importance of making and keeping needed immunization appointments.
- Provides help to parents and caregivers to locate a healthcare professional who participates in the Vaccines for Children’s program, a federally funded program that provides vaccinations at no cost to children whose parents cannot afford to pay for them.
Additional information and vaccine schedules can be found on the following websites: