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Educational Program Urges Parents to Immunize Kids

Campaign will explain serious threat of re-emerging diseases, AAP says

TUESDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new educational campaign to reinforce the importance of childhood vaccinations will be launched during National Infant Immunization Week, April 24 to May 1.

The program, called Protect Tomorrow, is designed to remind parents that without vaccinations, infants and children are at risk for contracting infectious diseases that can lead to hospitalization, disability and even death, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explained in a news release.

Even though the benefits of vaccination are well-documented, nearly one-quarter of children in the United States between the ages of 19 months and 35 months did not receive the recommended series of childhood vaccines in 2008, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our goal for the campaign is to urge parents to get their children vaccinated today so they can have a healthy tomorrow," pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine said in the news release.

Many young parents don't know how serious a threat diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and other childhood illnesses were in the past or that these diseases can re-emerge if parents don't immunize their children, the AAP noted.

"Each year, the recommended immunization schedule is reviewed and published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. It is critical that parents talk with their pediatricians and ensure their children are up-to-date with vaccinations so that children are protected and history does not repeat itself," Levine said.

The educational campaign -- which will include TV and radio public service announcements, along with online resources -- is supported by vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur.

More information

Here's where you can find more about the Protect Tomorrow campaign.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, April 27, 2010

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