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Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Reminds All Parents to 'Be Wise, Immunize Your Children'
Date:4/27/2009

National Infant Immunization Week is April 25 - May 2

YORK, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To kick off National Infant Immunization Week, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Everette James today stressed the need for all parents to fully immunize their children against preventable diseases.

"We've recently seen an increase in vaccine preventable diseases such as whooping cough, meningitis and measles -- all of which can cause severe illness in children and can spread rapidly to others," Secretary James said while visiting an immunization clinic at the York County State Health Center. "The recent outbreak of measles in the Pittsburgh area is a reminder that immunizations remain one of the most effective ways to protect against the potentially devastating effects of vaccine-preventable diseases."

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only prevent disease in people who receive them, but also protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated individuals including those who are too young to be vaccinated or individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

While the U.S. currently has seen dramatic reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases, the viruses and bacteria that cause them still exist and parents are often unaware that their children are at risk for so many serious and life-threatening diseases. The low levels of vaccine-preventable diseases prove that immunizations are doing exactly what they are intended to do - keep children healthy by controlling the spread of infectious diseases.

"It's important to talk with your health care provider to ensure that your infant is up-to-date on immunizations," added James. "Families, healthcare providers and public health officials must work together to protect our communities."

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities. NIIW focuses local, state and national attention on the importance of proper immunization for infants and toddlers 24 months and under.

For more information on immunizations, call 1-877-PA-HEALTH or visit www.health.state.pa.us/immunizations.

    CONTACT:
    Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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