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Notice to Readers: National Infant Immunization Week --- April 19--26, 2008

The week of April 19--26, 2008, is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) and Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA). Immunization is one of the most effective ways to protect infants and children from potentially serious diseases. During the week, hundreds of communities throughout the United States are expected to sponsor activities to emphasize the health benefits of timely vaccination and the importance to parents, health-care providers, and communities of maintaining high vaccination coverage. One message stressed during this week will be the key role of the ongoing relationship among parents and their children's health-care providers in vaccination programs. CDC encourages parents to talk to their health-care providers about vaccinations at any time.

The week's activities provide an opportunity to showcase the success of vaccination in saving the lives and protecting the health of children. The currently recommended childhood vaccination schedule (1) includes vaccines that prevent infectious diseases such as measles, polio, whooping cough, some forms of meningitis and pneumonia, and liver cancer. An analysis of the impact of seven vaccines showed that they would prevent approximately 33,500 deaths and 14 million illnesses per annual birth cohort (2).

NIIW-VWA events held in collaboration with CDC and state and local health departments will be hosted in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Washington. Events held in collaboration with CDC, state and local health departments, the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will be hosted in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, with kick-off events held in El Paso, Texas, and Sunland Park, New Mexico. In all locations, events will include education activities for health-care providers, media briefings, and immunization clinics.

VWA, sponsored by PAHO, targets children and other vulnerable and underserved populations who have low vaccination coverage rates, in all countries in the Western hemisphere. To support NIIW and VWA events nationwide, CDC provides annually updated English- and Spanish-language planning guides, campaign materials, and public relations tools. These include timely key messages, radio public service announcements, and sample media kits. These resources and event listings are available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/default.htm. Additional information about VWA is available at http://www.paho.org/english/dd/pin/vw2008.htm.

References

  1. CDC. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0--18 years---United States, 2008. MMWR 2008;57:Q1--4.
  2. Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, et al. Economic evaluation of the 7-vaccine routine childhood immunization schedule in the United States, 2001. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2005;159:1136--44.

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Date last reviewed: 4/16/2008

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