National Infant Immunization Week: Ensuring a Healthy Future for Children
By Ruth Brown, the NEST Partnership Coordinator with Springfield-Greene County Health
Every year, the last week of April is dedicated to National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). This week is an important reminder of the vital role that vaccines play in protecting children from preventable diseases. This year, NIIW is highlighting the importance of staying on track with children’s wellness checkups and recommended vaccinations.
Ensuring children’s health has become more critical than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of daily life, including healthcare. Some families have missed or delayed their children’s wellness checkups and vaccinations due to fear of contracting COVID-19, restrictions on non-essential healthcare visits, and limited access to healthcare facilities. While these disruptions were understandable and, in many cases, unavoidable, they put children’s health at risk. Routine vaccinations are a critical part of ensuring children stay healthy, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay on track with their well-child appointments and vaccinations.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing severe illness. They help protect people and communities by preventing or reducing the spread of infectious diseases. By ensuring that children receive their recommended vaccines, we can protect them from serious childhood diseases like whooping cough (pertussis) and measles. Vaccines also help protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants who are too young to receive certain vaccines, those with weakened immune systems, and people who may have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past.
Giving babies the recommended vaccinations by age two is the best way to protect them from preventable diseases. Vaccines provide safe and proven protection against serious diseases. Some parents have concerns about vaccine safety, but it’s important to note that the U.S. has a long-standing vaccine safety system that ensures vaccines are safe. Vaccine recommendations are continually monitored, updated, and improved based on new information and science. Trust in vaccines is built through millions of conversations between parents, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and public health workers.
National Infant Immunization Week provides an opportunity to encourage parents with questions to have conversations with their child’s healthcare provider. This week is an important reminder of the vital role that vaccines play in protecting children from preventable diseases. By working together, we can help protect our communities and ensure a healthy future for our children.
For more information about childhood immunizations, visit vaccine417.com.
Ruth Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and oversees the NEST Partnership for Springfield-Greene County Health. The NEST Partnership is a program that provides free nurse visits for families both during and after pregnancy to help individuals have a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby. Ruth has worked for the health department in various roles since 2004. As a mother of three children and the leader of the NEST Partnership, Ruth is passionate about educating on the importance of childhood vaccinations.