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Notice to Readers: National Infant Immunization Week, April 25--May 1, 2004

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 25--May 1, 2004. This year's theme is "Vaccination: an Act of Love. Love Them. Protect Them. Immunize Them." This event emphasizes the importance of timely infant and childhood vaccination. Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect children, especially infants and young children, from potentially serious diseases.

Because of increased vaccination efforts in the United States, incidences of the majority of vaccine-preventable diseases have decreased approximately 99% from peak prevaccine levels (1). In 2003, a total of 42 measles cases, one diphtheria case, and no wild poliovirus cases were reported (2,3). Approximately 11,000 infants are born each day in the United States; they need approximately 20 doses of vaccine before age 2 years to protect them from 11 vaccine-preventable diseases (4). Although vaccination coverage levels are high for children of preschool age, approximately 1 million children aged 2 years are missing >1 recommended vaccine dose (5).

During NIIW, states and approximately 500 communities in the United States will sponsor activities highlighting the need to achieve and maintain high childhood vaccination coverage rates. Special events, including provider education activities, media events, and immunization clinics also are planned along the United States--Mexico border in collaboration with the United States--Mexico Border Health Commission. In addition, CDC and its partners will debut a new public service campaign consisting of a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) in English and Spanish, a Spanish video news release, Spanish and English text for live radio PSAs, and posters and print ads in Spanish and English. NIIW is being held in conjunction with Vaccination Week in the Americas, scheduled for April 24--30. That event, sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will promote childhood immunization and access to health services concurrently in all countries in the Western Hemisphere. Additional information about NIIW and childhood vaccinations is available from CDC's National Immunization Program at http://www.cdc.gov/nip or the National Immunization Information Hotline, telephone 800-232-2522 (English) or 800-232-0233 (Spanish). Information on Vaccination Week in the Americas is available from PAHO at http://www.paho.org.

References

  1. CDC. Table 2. Baseline 20th century annual morbidity and 1998 provisional morbidity from nine diseases with vaccines recommended before 1990 for universal use in children---United States. MMWR 1999;48:245.
  2. CDC. Table I. Summary of provisional cases of selected notifiable diseases, United States, cumulative, week ending December 27, 2003 (52nd week). MMWR 2004;52:1267.
  3. CDC. Table II. Provisional cases of selected notifiable diseases, United States, weeks ending December 27, 2003 and December 28, 2002 (52nd week). MMWR 2004;52:1268--74.
  4. CDC. Recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedule---United States, January--June 2004. MMWR 2004;53:Q1--Q4.
  5. CDC. National, state, and urban area vaccination coverage levels among children aged 19--35 months---United States, 2001. MMWR 2002;51:664--6.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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