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updated: 4/8/2013 10:43 AM

Health Department Recognizes National Infant Immunization Week, April 20-27

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Lake County Health Department

Each year, approximately 170,000 babies are born in Illinois who need to be immunized against fourteen diseases before the age of 2. In observance of National Infant Immunizations Week, April 20 to 27, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is reminding parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect their infants and children by providing immunity early in life.

"Babies need to visit a doctor or clinic for vaccinations at least five times by the age of 2 for protection against serious childhood diseases," said Mark Pfister, Director of the Health Department's Population Health Services. "Immunizations not only provide individual protection to each child, but protect the health of the entire community."

Because of the success of vaccines in preventing diseases, parents may not have heard of some of today's vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world. Continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks.

Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable disease is the increase in whooping cough (pertussis) cases or outbreaks that have been reported in a majority of states during 2012. Today, there are cases in every state, and the country is on track to have the most reported cases since 1959. As of November 2012, more than 35,000 cases have been reported across the United States, including 16 deaths. In 2012, 249 cases were reported in Lake County, the highest number in several decades.

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. Diseases that vaccines protect against include chickenpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rotavirus, haemophilus influenza type b, pneumococcus, and influenza. For the 2013 infant immunizations schedule, visit:

Immunizations are available by appointment only at the Lake County Health Department's Immunizations Clinic, 2303 Dodge Avenue in Waukegan. The clinic is open Monday through Friday and on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. For more information or to make an appointment, call: (847) 377-8470.

The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is a member of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC), a 501 (c)(4) organization of public health departments. Other members include the health departments of the City of Chicago, the Village of Skokie, and the Counties of Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, Will and Winnebago. These organizations are promoting in unison the importance of immunizations in observance of National Infant Immunizations Week.