Good Reasons to Immunize Children
Today, this Wednesday, is the middle of what may be one of the most important weeks for public health in New Mexico and nationwide.
This week is National Infant Immunization Week. From April 26 to May 3rd, the New Mexico Department of Health is joining other local and state health departments, national immunization partners, health care professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children.
Since 1994, the annual observance week has played a role in improving the health of children two years old or younger. Now, in its 20th year, National Infant Immunization Week has milestones to celebrate, and mountains still to climb.
Thanks to immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 Vaccine Preventable diseases before age two, and the National Immunization Survey consistently shows childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.
New Mexico has much to be proud of. In 2002, the state was ranked 49th nationally in overall coverage for two-year-olds, and was ten percentage points below the national average. After much work by many people, the numbers came up to better than average by 2004.
Currently, New Mexico’s child vaccination rates are above the national average and the highest they’ve ever been. New Mexico in 2012 was at 71.6 percent series completion for what’s called the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series; the US average was 68.4%. The immunization series provides protection against the following Vaccine Preventable diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza type B. The goal is to reach 90 percent by the year 2020.
National Infant Immunization Week is also a time where the New Mexico Department of Health reaches out to all parents and guardians to assure them infant vaccines are safe.
Many parents worry about the possible side effects of vaccinating their child and if their child really needs all those shots. Misinformation abounds on the Internet, making it hard to find a reliable source of information.
The truth is today in 2014, the CDC reports the United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Millions of children are safely vaccinated each year. The most common side effects are typically very mild and go away in a few days, such as pain or swelling at the area of the skin where the shot is given.
Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Some parents worry that too many vaccines given at one time will overwhelm their baby's immune system. But babies' bodies fight off germs every day- their immune systems are ready and waiting to keep them healthy! Vaccinations are a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of germs they fight off every day.
The New Mexico Department of Health’s Immunization Program works with doctors throughout the year to assure safety as well as improve immunization rates in children and adolescents. The Immunization Program conducts site visits at the approximately 500 Vaccines for Children providers in New Mexico. The visit focuses on general storage and handling, technical assistance and strategies for improving immunization rates.
The Department of Health also provides immunizations at Public Health Offices throughout the state for children and adults at no charge. Parents are encouraged to bring insurance cards if they have them.
See our list of Public Health Offices to find a location in your area.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.