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April 23, 2013

National Infant Immunization Week continues

NORMAN — Communities across the country will celebrate National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) through Saturday.

NIIW is an annual observance emphasizing the need to fully immunize children ages 2 years and younger against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.

“It’s never too early to start protecting your child from infectious diseases,” said Shari Kinney, Cleveland County Health Department administrator. “Choosing to delay or avoid immunization can lead to devastating and heart-breaking consequences.”

This year’s theme, “Immunization. Power to Protect,” reminds parents and caregivers that children need a series of vaccinations to be fully protected from debilitating and potentially deadly diseases.

Infants who are not immunized, or whose immunizations are delayed, are vulnerable to these diseases.

Parents are often unaware that children are at risk for so many serious diseases.

Low levels of disease in the community means that vaccination programs have been successful.

Immunizations are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools. However, public health professionals express concern that certain diseases are on the rise because parents choose to avoid or delay immunizations for their children.

“Just because your child is healthy now doesn’t mean they won’t get sick from a vaccine-preventable disease later. Routine infant and toddler immunizations will protect against serious illness in the future,” Kinney said.

Parents should talk to their doctors about making sure their child is protected and fully vaccinated.

If a child does not have health insurance or is only partially insured, your doctor or health department can provide information about the Vaccines For Children program, which provides free or low-cost vaccines.

For more information on where to get immunizations, visit the Cleveland County Health Department, 250 12th Ave. NE in Norman, or call 321-4048, or visit the Cleveland County Health Department in Moore, 424 S. Eastern Ave., or call 794-1591.

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