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Notice to Readers: National Infant Immunization Week --- April 24--30, 2005

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 24--30, 2005. The theme this year is "Vaccination: an Act of Love. Love Them. Protect Them. Immunize Them." This annual event emphasizes the importance of timely infant and childhood vaccination, one of the most effective ways to protect infants and children from potentially serious diseases.

Because of increased emphasis on vaccination, the majority of vaccine-preventable diseases have decreased in incidence by approximately 99% from peak prevaccine levels in the United States (1). In 2004, a total of 37 cases of measles, no cases of diphtheria, and no cases of wild poliovirus were reported in the United States (2). Approximately 11,000 infants are born each day in the United States; according to the recommended childhood immunization schedule, they require approximately 23 doses of vaccine before age 2 years to protect them from 12 vaccine-preventable diseases (3). Although vaccination coverage levels are high for children of preschool age, an estimated 27.5% of children aged 19--35 months were missing 1 or more recommended vaccine doses in 2003 (4).

During NIIW, states and hundreds of communities throughout the United States will sponsor activities highlighting the need to achieve and maintain high childhood vaccination coverage rates. Special kick-off events, including provider education activities, media events, and immunization clinics are planned in Louisiana, New Mexico, and along the United States--Mexico border in collaboration with state and local health departments, the United States--Mexico Border Health Commission, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). In addition, CDC and its partners will introduce a new public education campaign, including a 30-second public service announcement, posters, and print advertisements in English and Spanish. NIIW is being held in conjunction with Vaccination Week in the Americas, scheduled for April 23--30. That event, sponsored by PAHO, promotes childhood immunization and access to health services concurrently in all countries in the Western Hemisphere. Additional information about NIIW and childhood vaccination is available from CDC's National Immunization Program at http://www.cdc.gov/nip. Information on Vaccination Week in the Americas is available at http://www.paho.org/english/dd/pin/pr050211.htm.

References

  1. CDC. Achievements in public health, 1900--1999 impact of vaccines universally recommended for children---United States, 1990--1998. MMWR 1999;48:243--8.
  2. CDC. Table I. Summary of provisional cases of selected notifiable diseases, United States, cumulative, week ending January 1, 2005 (52nd week). MMWR 2005;53(52):1213.
  3. CDC. Recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedule---United States, 2005. MMWR 2005;53(51):Q1--Q3.
  4. CDC. National, state, and urban area vaccination coverage among children aged 19--35 months---United States, 2003. MMWR 2004;53:658--61.



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