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SEARHC joins other groups for Immunization Week

Posted: April 24, 2012 - 12:05am

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is joining with other health organizations in the United States and around the world on April 21-28 to celebrate National Infant Immunization Week and the inaugural World Immunization Week.

During this week, hundreds of communities will celebrate the critical role vaccinations play in protecting children, communities and public health. National Infant Immunization Week began in 1994, and this year the World Health Organization is launching the first global immunization observance, World Immunization Week.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.

SEARHC gives five reasons you should make sure your children have all of their vaccinations:

• Can save your child’s life — Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected from more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, such as polio, have been eliminated or are close to extinction, mainly due to safe and effective vaccines.

• Is very safe and effective — Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and health care professionals. While some children may feel discomfort or mild pain when they are immunized, this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort and trauma caused by the diseases the vaccines prevent. Serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, are very rare.

• Protects others you care about — Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, there have been resurgences of measles and whooping cough in recent years. Some babies are too young to be immunized, or may not be able to receive immunizations due to allergies, weakened immune systems or other medical conditions.

• Save your family time and money — Children with vaccine-preventable diseases can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities, and the diseases can take a toll on the family because of the lost time from work and medical bills. Getting vaccinated is good insurance against these diseases.

• Protects future generations — Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago.

SEARHC asks people to join in protecting children and families against preventable disease. For more information about the importance of vaccinations, contact your child’s health provider or Laurie Hood in Sitka at 907-966-8738, or go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

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