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Public health officials stress importance of immunizations

Next week has been designated National Infant Immunization Week, an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger.

Through immunization, infants and children can be protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two. Since vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the U.S. and around the world, continued vaccination is necessary to keep outbreaks from happening. Some diseases are rare in the U.S., but diseases such as measles and polio can still be brought into the country by unvaccinated individuals, putting other unvaccinated people at risk.

Public health officials believe vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective tools available in their field for preventing disease and death. As new information and science become available, vaccine recommendations are updated and improved.

Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and cause financial burdens because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability. But vaccines are usually covered by insurance and the federally funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program can also assist uninsured and underinsured families by providing vaccines free of charge to qualifying children.

For more information about the importance of infant immunizations, visit the Center for Disease Control's vaccine website for parents. Easy-to-read immunization schedules, an immunization tracker, videos, fact sheets and public service announcements may be found at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/resources/childhood.html. To schedule an appointment for you or your child to receive immunizations, call the Niagara County Department of Health’s Immunization Program at 278-1903.

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