Illinois women will give birth to approximately 170,000 babies during 2013 and all of the newborns need to be immunized against 14 dangerous diseases before the age of two.
The Will County Health Department urges area parents to remember that following the recommended immunizations schedule protects their children against chicken pox, measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and more than a half dozen other infectious diseases capable of producing life-altering complications. The call for immunization compliance comes in conjunction with National Infant Immunizations Week (April 20-27).
“Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available to us,” according to Will County Health Department Executive Director John Cicero. “Vaccines protect each child receiving them, and they also help by providing a cocoon of protection for the entire community. Unimmunized children face serious personal risks, and they can also transmit potentially serious infections to others. There is no doubt about it – immunizations protect all of us.”
Because of the success of vaccines, parents may not be aware of serious diseases such as pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough), a contagious bacterial infection marked by the sudden onset of violent coughing and general respiratory distress. Sadly, pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children.
Although vaccines can virtually eliminate many of the infectious conditions that killed and incapacitated at will in previous generations, parental indifference has taken its toll. More than 35,000 US pertussis cases were reported a year ago, making 2012 the worst year for whooping cough in America since 1959.
Will County reported 72 cases of pertussis during 2012, an increase of 125 percent over 2011 levels, and a jump of 300 percent in just two years. Similar increases were reported from across Illinois.
If you are a parent who is wondering about the need to immunize your child, the Health Department urges you to discuss the issue with your health care provider as soon as possible. You can access the 2013 infant immunizations schedule at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html.
For more information about immunization services provided by the Will County Health Department, telephone 815-740-8143.
The Will County Health Department is a member of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC), a 501 (c)(4) organization of Chicagoland public health departments. All 10 NIPHC members are promoting in unison the importance of immunizations in observance of National Infant Immunizations Week.