National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is a yearly observance highlighting the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). It’s also a time to showcase the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.
This year, more than ever, we recognize the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children and communities and the nation’s public health from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. As opportunities for in-person learning and play grow, CDC recommends families check with their healthcare providers to make sure children are up to date on routinely recommended vaccines, even during the pandemic.
NIIW is April 24-May 1, 2021, as part of World Immunization Week (WIW)external iconexternal icon, a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative. During WIW, all six WHO regions, including more than 180 member states, territories, and areas promote immunization, advance equity and universal access to vaccination, and enable cooperation on cross-border immunization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some infants and children to miss or delay routinely recommended vaccinations.
A CDC report released in May 2020 found a troubling drop in routine childhood vaccinations as a result of families staying at home. While families followed public health warnings about going out, an unfortunate result was many missed recommended vaccinations.
This week serves as a reminder about the importance of staying on track and ensuring infants are up to date on recommended vaccines. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children stay on track with their well-child appointments and routine vaccinations – even during COVID-19.
These major achievements highlight controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants and young children:
- Vaccines have drastically reduced infant deaths and disability caused by preventable disease in the U.S.
- Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
- Routine childhood immunization among children born from 1994-2018 will prevent:
- an estimated 419 million illnesses,
- 8 million hospitalizations, and
- 936,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
Childhood immunization has resulted in a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.9 trillion in total economic impact.
NIIW 2021 provides an opportunity to communicate to parents and caregivers:
- The importance of staying up to date on all routinely recommended vaccines, even during COVID-19.
- The benefits of vaccination in protecting children, starting from birth, against vaccine-preventable diseases.
- The dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially to infants and young children.
NIIW 2021 also provides partners an opportunity to:
- Let local organizations and agencies work together as immunization partners.
- Share evidence-based information about vaccines on social media.
- Recognize local partners and volunteers for improving immunization coverage, with emphasis on completing the vaccination series.
- Create virtual events that attract community support and national and local media interest for stories on childhood immunization.
- Provide a forum so local media can interview immunization experts.
- Encourage clear communication about vaccination between parents and healthcare professionals.
NIIW Key Messages
Use key messages to encourage parents to stay up to date on their child’s vaccinations. Use these messages or adapt them to fit your particular audience.