April 24 to May 1 is National Infant Immunization Week. The Centers for Disease Control has a website page devoted to the promotion of this week, as well as useful information on events and activities.
Outstanding progress has been made in immunization rates for children younger than two years old. Immunization coverage rates in the United States for vaccines routinely recommended for infants and young children remain at or near record highs. For example, rates for measles, rubella, and three doses of Hib and Hep B are greater than 90 percent. However, there is still much work to be done.
Over one million children in the United States are not adequately immunized and each day nearly 12,000 children are born and each in need of protection from diseases. Thousands of lives are in jeopardy from vaccine-preventable diseases, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on the care of disease stricken children whose illnesses could have been avoided. National and community organizations and health departments can play an important role in ensuring that all our children are appropriately immunized by the age of two. Healthcare providers need to actively communicate with parents and caregivers about immunization, especially when improvements in vaccines result in changes to the immunization schedule.
Parents and caregivers need to know that their children can and will be protected against many childhood diseases. During National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) and Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), efforts are made in hundreds of communities around the United States and throughout the Western Hemisphere to increase awareness of the importance of immunization and to achieve immunization goals.