HARRISBURG, Pa., April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Failing to fully immunize children can unnecessarily jeopardize their health and the health of other children, acting Secretary of Health Dr. Eli Avila said today to mark National Infant Immunization Week.
"Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for parents to protect their children and prevent disease," said Dr. Avila. "While the U.S. has recently seen dramatic reductions in vaccine-preventable diseases, Pennsylvania continues to see an increase in reportable cases of mumps and pertussis – or whooping cough."
In 2010, 763 pertussis cases were reported to the Department of Health, up from 468 in 2009. Sixty-three mumps cases were reported to the Department of Health in 2010, up from 11 in 2009. These diseases are highly contagious and can pose unnecessary health risks to children.
Parents are often unaware that children are at risk for so many serious and life-threatening diseases. The low levels of vaccine-preventable diseases at the national level shows immunizations work to control the spread of infectious diseases.
Vaccines also protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated individuals, such as those who are too young to be vaccinated or people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
"Parents should talk with their health care provider to ensure infants are up-to-date on their immunizations," added Dr. Avila.
Running through April 30, National Infant Immunization Week emphasizes the need to fully immunize children against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities. The week focuses on the importance of proper immunization for infants and toddlers age 2 and under.
For more information on immunizations or an immunization schedule, visit www.health.state.pa.us/immunizations or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Media contact: Holli Senior, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health