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National Infant Immunization Week begins in Polk | Health

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National Infant Immunization Week begins in Polk
Health, News
National Infant Immunization Week begins in Polk

Bartow, Florida -- The Florida Department of Health in Polk County recognizes the week of April 20-27, 2013, as National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). 

National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance promoting the benefits of immunization to improve the health of children two-years-old or younger. 

This year's theme is "Immunization: Power to Protect." 

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death.

They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. 

Vaccines can reduce costs associated with time missed from work, doctor visits, and hospitalizations.

"Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States.  Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two," said Dr. Ulyee Choe, Interim Director for the health department. 

"I encourage parents to talk to their child's doctor about immunizations," he said.

It's easy to think of illnesses like measles and whooping cough as diseases of the past.

But the truth is they still exist. For example, in 2012, more than 50 people in the United States were reported to have measles. In addition, preliminary data from CDC reports more than 41,000 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) nationwide, including 18 deaths.

Most of these deaths were in children younger than 1 year old.

This was the highest number of pertussis cases in any one year in the US since 1955.  In Polk County, we had 15 cases of whooping cough, but no measles cases reported during 2012. 

Through the federally-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, children and adolescents in Polk County who are uninsured or under-insured can receive free vaccinations at the health department or other private VFC providers in our area. 

Immunizations are available at health department locations in Bartow, Lakeland, Auburndale, Haines City, and Lake Wales.

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