Lake County Health Department suggests child immunizations
News-Sun staff report April 19, 2013 7:46PM
Each year, approximately 170,000 babies are born in Illinois who need to be immunized against 14 diseases before the age of two. | File photo
Updated: June 19, 2013 3:03AM
In observance of National Infant Immunizations Week, April 20-27, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is reminding parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect their infants and children by providing immunity early in life. Each year, approximately 170,000 babies are born in Illinois who need to be immunized against 14 diseases before the age of two.
“Babies need to visit a doctor or clinic for vaccinations at least five times by the age of 2 for protection against serious childhood diseases,” said Mark Pfister, director of the Health Department’s Population Health Services. “Immunizations not only provide individual protection to each child, but protect the health of the entire community.”
Because of the success of vaccines in preventing diseases, parents may not have heard of some of today’s vaccines or the serious diseases they prevent. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world. Continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks.
Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable disease is the increase in whooping cough (pertussis) cases or outbreaks that have been reported in a majority of states during 2012. Today, there are cases in every state, and the country is on track to have the most reported cases since 1959. As of November 2012, more than 35,000 cases have been reported across the United States, including 16 deaths. In 2012, 249 cases were reported in Lake County, the highest number in several decades.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. Diseases that vaccines protect against include chickenpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rotavirus, haemophilus influenza type b, pneumococcus and influenza. For the 2013 infant immunizations schedule, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html.
Immunizations are available by appointment only at the Lake County Health Department’s Immunizations Clinic, 2303 Dodge Ave. in Waukegan. The clinic is open Monday through Friday and on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. For more information or to make an appointment, call (847) 377-8470.