Polk Health Department: Immunize infants | News
Bartow, Florida -- The Polk County Health Department is recognizing the week of April 21-28 as National Infant Immunization Week.
National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance promoting the benefits of immunization to improve the health of children two years old or younger.
Health officials say this year's theme is "Immunization: Power to Protect".
Department workers say vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They also reduce costs associated with missed time from work, doctor visits, and hospitalizations.
The department also points out that there have been recent increases in diagnosed and probable cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough across Florida and in Polk County.
The occurrences in Florida, they say, are consistent with the rise in cases seen across the United States. Outbreaks have occurred recently in Montana, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington State.
There have also been recent outbreaks of chickenpox in unvaccinated children in Florida.
The health department is encouraging parents to talk to their child's doctor about immunizations their children may need.
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 through the health department, or other private VFC providers in the area.
Immunizations are available at health department locations in Bartow, Lakeland, Auburndale, and Lake Wales.