Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z

CDC Media Relations
Media Home | Contact Us
US Department of Health and Human Services logo and link

Media Relations Links
About Us
Media Contact
Frequently Asked Questions
Media Site Map

CDC News
Press Release Library
MMWR Summaries
B-Roll Footage
Upcoming Events

Related Links
Centers at CDC
Data and Statistics
Health Topics A-Z
Image Library
Publications, Software and Other Products
Global Health Odyssey
Find your state or local health department
HHS News
National Health Observances
Visit the FirstGov Web Site
Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394


Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2005
Contact: CDC Office of Communication Curtis Allen, 404-353-6558

National Infant Immunization Week
Urges Parents to Vaccinate

Annual Observance Enters 2nd Decade

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will launch the second decade of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) with events beginning April 24 and continuing through April 30, 2005. Immunization has been cited as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.

For the second year, CDC will partner with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission (USMBHC) and more than 35 other nations for Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) in order to reach out to parents, caregivers, health care providers, and communities throughout the Western Hemisphere to highlight the need for routine infant vaccinations.

“We can now protect children from more vaccine preventable diseases than ever before,” said Dr. Stephen L. Cochi, Acting Director of the National Immunization Program for CDC. “Millions of children have been vaccinated, and millions of cases of disease, disability and death have been prevented.”

Recently, several important milestones have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants and adults worldwide:

  • July 2004: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the nation's childhood immunization rates are at record high levels. []
  • March 2005: CDC announced that rubella is no longer a major health threat to expectant mothers and their unborn children, thanks to a safe and effective vaccine, high vaccine coverage, and parents’ confidence in the vaccination recommendation. [
  • April 2005: marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the polio vaccine. “Safe, effective, and potent.” On April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., director of the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, announced to the world that the Salk polio vaccine was up to 90% effective in preventing paralytic polio.

Every day, 11,000 babies are born in the United States who will need to be immunized against 12 diseases before age two. Despite recent gains in infant immunization coverage, more than 20% of the nation’s two-year-olds do not get fully immunized against infectious diseases to which they are especially vulnerable.

“A substantial number of children in the United States still aren't adequately protected from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Dr. Cochi. "The suffering or death of even one individual from a vaccine-preventable disease is an unnecessary human tragedy. Let us renew our efforts to ensure that no child, adolescent or adult will have to needlessly suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease."

More than 500 NIIW events across the United States to promote and provide infant vaccinations will reflect this year’s NIIW theme “Love them. Protect them. Immunize them.”

To support NIIW, DHHS and CDC produced two 30-second English and Spanish-language PSAs titled “Love them. Protect them. Immunize them." The PSAs stress the importance of immunizing and protecting children ages two and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases. Each PSA features parents sharing their experiences about barriers to vaccinating their infants and how they overcame these obstacles. The PSAs, set to begin airing during NIIW, will be sent via satellite to major markets throughout the United States and are intended to be broadcast through April 2006.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ mission is to protect health and give a special helping hand to those who need assistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing creditable information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations. For more information please visit or call1- 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Media Home Page | Accessibility | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
CDC Home | Search | Health Topics A-Z

This page last updated April 22, 2005

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of Communication
Division of Media Relations