National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 27-May 4 is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.
2019 represents the 25th anniversary of NIIW. Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the U.S. have joined to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. Through immunization, infants and children are protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two:
#14. Diphtheria – Can cause a thick covering in the back of the nose or throat that makes it hard to breathe or swallow. Can lead to heart failure, paralysis and even death.
#13. Chickenpox – A disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters and a fever. A person with chickenpox may have a lot of blisters – as many as 500 all over their body. This disease can be serious and even life-threatening, especially in babies, adults and people with weakened immune systems. Even healthy children can get really sick.
#12. Mumps – Best known for causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw caused by swelling of the salivary glands. Other symptoms include fever, head and muscle aches, and tiredness. It’s contagious and there is no treatment.
#11. Rotavirus – A contagious disease that can cause severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain, mostly in infants and young children. Children can become severely dehydrated and need to be hospitalized.
#10. Pneumococcal Disease – caused by a bacterium, it causes ear infections, sinus infections, pneumonia and even meningitis, making it very dangerous for children. The virus can invade parts of the body, like the brain and spinal cord, that are normally free from germs.
#9. Whooping Cough (pertussis) – A highly contagious disease that can be deadly for babies. It can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe.
#8. Measles – A child can get measles simply by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even two hours later! Measles is very contagious and can be serious, especially for young children.
#7. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) – Can do serious damage to children’s immune systems, cause brain damage, hearing loss and even death. Mostly affects kids under 5.
#6. Rubella – Spread by coughing and sneezing, it’s especially dangerous for pregnant women and unborn children. Can cause a miscarriage, birth defects or fetal demise.
#5. Hepatitis A – The vaccine was first developed in 1995 and has cut incidence tremendously. A contagious liver disease spread by person-to-person contact or through contaminated food and water.
#4. Hepatitis B – Spread through blood and bodily fluids, it’s especially dangerous for babies since it can spread from an infected mother to baby during birth.
#3. Influenza – A respiratory virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs. Can affect different people differently, based on their immune system, age and health. Flu can be dangerous for children of all ages.
#2. Tetanus – Can cause painful muscle stiffness and lockjaw and can be fatal.
#1. Polio – A crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease spread by a virus. It spreads person to person and can invade the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.
Talk to your child’s doctor about the vaccinations that your child needs to grow, thrive and live a healthy, safe and happy life!