2019 marks 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week

Submitted by McHenry County Department of Health

April 27 through May 4 marks the 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week.

The McHenry County Department of Health recognizes this week by encouraging parents to be sure that their infant is current on immunizations by talking with their child's health care provider.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. But because of this success, parents may be unaware of the seriousness of the diseases they prevent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for children born between 1994 and 2018, vaccination will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses throughout their life time. Measles, mumps, whooping cough and other diseases once thought of as routine rarely occur due to high vaccination rates. Vaccination protects not only the children who are vaccinated, but entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

According to the CDC, 555 cases of measles were confirmed in 20 states from Jan. 1 to April 11. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eradicated in 2000. During the time frame of Jan. 1 to April 11, Illinois had seven cases of measles.

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, nine out of ten people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected. CDC statistics tell us that about 1 in 4 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized.

According to Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for McHenry County Department of Health, "When babies are born, their immune system usually fights most germs, but there are some dangerous diseases their bodies can't handle. Vaccines help their bodies fight off some of these germs."

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Families who need help paying for childhood vaccines should ask their health care provider about the VFC program.

The McHenry County Department of Health offers the "Vaccines for Children" program to individuals 18 years or younger that have Medicaid or are uninsured or underinsured.

For additional locations offering the "Vaccines for Children" program, visit www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram.

Vaccination clinic appointments are offered at two MCDH locations: 2200 N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock, and 100 N. Virginia St. in Crystal Lake. Call (815) 334-4500 to schedule an appointment or to see if your child qualifies.

Call the McHenry County Department of Health at (815) 334-4500 for information on vaccines or the "Vaccines for Children" program.

To learn more about National Infant Immunization Week or to view the childhood vaccination schedule, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

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