This is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges all Georgians to protect infants from vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring our little ones and everyone around them, are vaccinated and up-to-date on their immunization schedules.

“Vaccines are crucial to protecting children before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases,” said Sheila Lovett, Interim Director of the Georgia Immunization Program. “Immunization is a shared responsibility and we as parents, family, friends and health care providers can help keep our children and our communities protected by staying current on our immunization schedule. We urge parents to speak with their pediatrician or health care provider at every visit to make sure their infant is up-to-date on vaccinations.”

According to the most recent data available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Survey, Georgia immunization rates for Tdap were below the national average, ranking them 39th compared to other states. Similar to national trends, the number of pertussis cases in Georgia increased in 2014 with 396 pertussis cases reported to DPH compared to the 269 cases reported in 2013. Of those 396 pertussis cases reported in 2014, 99 (26.8%) were infants < 12 months of age.

NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.

NIIW

For those who are underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them, there is the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VCF program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule and has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.

The Georgia Department of Public Health encourages everyone – in observance of National Infant Immunization Week – to protect the little ones who cannot yet protect themselves: contact your pediatrician or your local public health department to ensure your infant is up-to-date on vaccinations.

For more information on vaccinations, click here.