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Health Department Notes: Vaccinating on time is important for disease protection

National Infant Immunization Week (April 21-28, 2018) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Do you know if your child is up-to-date?

Parents agree that feeding and sleep schedules are important to help keep their children healthy. The same goes for childhood immunizations. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them against 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.

The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect babies early in life, when they are vulnerable and before it’s likely that they will be exposed to diseases.

Public health and medical experts base their vaccine recommendations on many factors. They study information about diseases and vaccines very carefully to decide which vaccines kids should get and when they should get them for best protection.

Although the number of vaccines a child needs in the first two years may seem like a lot, doctors know a great deal about the human immune system, and they know that a healthy baby’s immune system can handle getting all vaccines when they are recommended. Take caution, parents, and do not delay having your children vaccinated. There is no known benefit to delaying vaccination. In fact, it puts babies at risk of getting sick because they are left vulnerable to serious diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines.

Parents who are concerned about the number of shots given at one time can reduce the number given at a visit by using the flexibility built into the recommended immunization schedule. For example, the third dose of hepatitis B vaccine can be given at six through 18 months of age. Parents can work with their child’s healthcare professional to have their child get this dose at any time during that age range.

Make sure your children are vaccinated on time. Getting children all the vaccines they need by age two is one of the best things parents can do to help keep their children safe and healthy.

For more information about the importance of infant immunization, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse, or call the health department at 873-4541.

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