National Infant Immunization Week: April 23-30

Apr 25, 2011, 3:04 PM

National Infant Immunization Week, started in 1994, helps promote infant immunization in the United States. News from last year underscores the critical need for the campaign: a whooping cough outbreak in California resulted in 8,000 cases and the death of ten infants.

But there’s also good news this year: last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Menactra — a meningitis vaccine already in use for those ages 2 to 55 — for babies as young as nine months.

According to the CDC, National Infant Immunization Week provides an opportunity to:

  • Highlight the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially to infants and young children.
  • Provide parents and caregivers with a toll-free number, 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), to locate a facility that offers immunizations through the Vaccines for Children’s program. The federally funded program provides free vaccines to children whose parents cannot afford to pay.
  • Provide web-based resources to help state and local health departments, as well as local coalitions, increase awareness of the importance of immunization and improve local vaccine coverage rates.
  • Create events that attract community support and media interest in order to increase national and local coverage of the importance of childhood immunization.

Has your community launched a childhood immunization campaign?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.