CDC - NIIW Overview and Milestones - National Infant Immunization Week - Vaccines
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2012 National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW)
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 and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
NIIW 2012 will be April 21-28.
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National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to promote the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger. Since 1994, local and state health departments, national immunization partners, health care professionals, community leaders from across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together through NIIW to highlight the positive impact of vaccination on the lives of infants and children, and to call attention to immunization achievements.
This year’s NIIW, set for April 21-28, 2012, will be celebrated as part of the first World Immunization Week (WIW), an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). During WIW, all six WHO regions, including more than 180 Member States, territories, and areas, will simultaneously promote immunization, advance equity in the use of vaccines and universal access to vaccination services, and enable cooperation on cross-border immunization activities in April 2012.
As part of WIW, NIIW will be held in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA). Communities across the United States and Western hemisphere will participate in awareness and education events, planned in conjunction with state and local health departments, PAHO, and the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission in sites along the U.S.-Mexican border.
See what is already planned, NIIW Activities around the World, and add your event to this year’s listing, NIIW: 2012 Activity Form.
Several important milestones already have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants and adults worldwide. Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In addition:
- Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
- In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, few physicians just out of medical school will ever see a case of measles during their careers.
- Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.6 billion in direct costs.
- In September 2011, CDC announced that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record highs.
Yet without diligent efforts to maintain immunization programs in the United States and to strengthen them worldwide, vaccine-preventable diseases will remain a threat to children. As illustrations, it’s only necessary to consider the 2010 outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough), which killed 10 infants in California, or measles, which takes the lives of more than 100,000 children globally each year. In 2011, more than 200 people in the United States were confirmed to have measles.
Opportunities for NIIW
NIIW provides an opportunity to:
- Highlight the dangers of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially to infants and young children, and the importance and benefits of childhood immunizations.
- Educate parents and caregivers about the importance of vaccination in protecting their children from birth against vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Focus attention on our immunization achievements and celebrate the accomplishments made possible through successful collaboration.
- Step up efforts to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases and thereby give them a healthy start in life.
- Encourage better communication between parents and health care professionals.
- Remind parents and caregivers they need to make and keep needed immunization appointments.
- Provide parents and caregivers with a toll-free number, 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), to locate a facility that offers immunizations through the Vaccines for Children’s program, a federally funded program that provides vaccinations at no cost to children whose parents cannot afford to pay for them.
NIIW also supports efforts to:
- Provide web-based resources for state and local health departments and local coalitions to develop and implement a communication strategy that will increase awareness of the importance of immunization and improve local vaccine coverage rates.
- Create events that attract community support and media interest in order to increase national and local coverage of stories on the importance of childhood immunization.
- Provide a forum to pitch news stories, provide media hooks to interest local media in developing feature stories on the importance of childhood immunization, and create opportunities for local media interviews with immunization experts.
- Recognize local partners and volunteers for their year-round efforts helping to raise childhood immunization coverage, with special emphasis on completing the vaccination series.
- Create opportunities for local organizations and agencies to work together as immunization partners.