For Immediate Release
April 21, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


National Infant Immunization Week is April 19-26

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. NIIW is being held April 19-26.

“Immunizations are one of the most important ways parents can protect their children,” stated Sue Bowden, Director of the Kansas Immunization Program at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). “We encourage parents to talk to their healthcare provider about making sure their infants are up-to-date on immunizations.”

Vaccines also reduce the costs associated with missed time from work, doctor visits, and hospitalizations.

Infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, and more than 40,000 babies will be born in Kansas this year that need to be immunized. A series of immunizations should be administered to newborns from birth to age 2, that protect against 12 diseases including: bacterial meningitis, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, polio, rubella, tetanus, and varicella. Additional immunizations are recommended after age 2.

In addition, infants and young children are at greater risk for severe health complications from seasonal influenza, which is why vaccination is recommended between the ages of 6 months and 8 years.

Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease, parents are often unaware that their children are at risk for so many serious diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases are at an all-time low in Kansas, but these diseases still exist and continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks.

“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective methods available for preventing disease,” said Bowden. “Early childhood vaccines not only help protect infants and children, but also entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of diseases.”

To learn more about childhood immunizations, visit www.kdheks.gov/immunize/, www.immunize.org or www.cdc.gov/vaccines/.