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Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 23, 2009
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

  • Versión en español

National Infant Immunization Week Highlights Importance of Protecting Infants from Life-Threatening Diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) with events beginning April 25 and continuing through May 2, 2009. Parents, caregivers and health care providers will be reminded of the benefits of vaccination and the importance of routine childhood vaccination.

"Immunization is one of the single most important steps parents can take to help assure their children grow up to be strong and healthy. We prevent millions of cases of disease and thousands of deaths in children each year through immunization," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "NIIW provides a chance for us to remember how important vaccines are and renew our efforts to make sure no child needlessly suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease."

This year marks the 15th anniversary of NIIW. Washington state and Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties of Illinois will host special NIIW kick off events. They will be joined by hundreds of communities from across the United States in celebrating NIIW through community awareness, health care provider education, and media events to promote infant immunizations.

For the sixth year, NIIW takes place at the same time as Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), a partnership among CDC, the Pan American Health Organization, and the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission. More that 60 countries around the world will participate. Border kick-off events will be in San Diego, Calif.

There are now vaccines to protect children against 14 diseases before age 2. Despite recent gains in infant immunization coverage, more than 20 percent of the nation's 2-year-olds are not fully immunized against infectious diseases to which they are especially vulnerable.

"The unnecessary death of even one child from a vaccine-preventable disease is tragic. Immunization is critical because many of the bacteria and viruses that cause these life-threatening diseases still circulate in our country," Dr. Schuchat said. "We have seen unfortunate resurgence of some of these illnesses recently."

For more information please visit or call 1- 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).


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