HARRISBURG, Pa., April 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy this week will observe National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) and is asking parents to help protect their children by getting them fully immunized against preventable diseases.
"Vaccines are among the most effective and safe tools available for preventing harm and death to children," said Dr. Murphy. "They not only prevent disease in people who receive them, but also help those who have not received their vaccinations, such as those who are too young to be vaccinated or individuals who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons."
The United States has seen dramatic reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases over the past several decades. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause sicknesses such as measles still exist. Unvaccinated children are at risk for many serious and life-threatening diseases. The decline of vaccine-preventable disease cases over the past century on a national level proves that immunizations do exactly what they are intended to do – keep children and communities healthy by controlling the spread of infectious diseases.
In the past two years, Pennsylvania has seen an increase in reportable cases of vaccine-preventable diseases. There have been 111 cases of whooping cough and 155 cases of chicken pox in children alone. These diseases are highly contagious and can cause undue hardship to families. They are also preventable. Parents should talk with their health care provider to ensure infants are up-to-date on their immunizations.
NIIW is an annual observance that emphasizes the need to fully immunize children against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities.
For more information on immunizations, visit www.VaccinesForLife.com or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health