National Immunization Week

La Paz County Health Department is announcing National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW); an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases, April 21st-28th. In celebration, the county health department will be raffling off a $25 gift certificate to Basha’s. Anyone who is vaccinated between now and May 17th will be eligible to win.

“One of the most important ways parents can protect their children against serious childhood diseases is through immunizations,” said Diana Grazier, Director of Nursing for La Paz County Health Department. “Now is the time to check the vaccination status of everyone in your family. The goal is to have every child fully vaccinated by their second birthday and the key to healthy infants is to surround them with healthy, vaccinated families until they can be fully vaccinated.”

Each day nearly 12,000 babies are born in the United States who will need to be immunized against 14 vaccine preventable diseases before the age of two. Infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, such as polio, measles, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria and rubella. La Paz County Health Department cautions these diseases still exist and it is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks through continued vaccinations. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease, parents may not have heard of some of today’s vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases was the California whooping cough epidemic of 2010, resulting in the death of 10 infants. Nationally, more than 21,000 cases of the whooping cough were reported in 2010 and Washington State is reporting soaring numbers this year, which are on track toward breaking their state’s record for highest number of cases in a given year.  Due to the proximity of Arizona to these states, our families are at increased risk.

Visit co.la-paz.az.us for vaccination clinic hours or call (928) 669-1100 for times.

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