NH DHHS Recognizes National Infant Immunization Week

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recognizes National Infant Immunization Week, April 24 - May 1, 2010, to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Each day nearly 12,000 children are born in the United States, each in need of protection from diseases which were once a major cause of infant mortality, but which are now preventable through vaccines. If unvaccinated, thousands of young lives are in jeopardy, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on the care of disease-stricken children whose illnesses could have been avoided.

“Immunizations are the best way to protect your children from a potentially life threatening illness and I encourage all parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up-to-date,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health Services.

The latest National Immunization Survey showed that 81% of New Hampshire children 19 - 35 months of age had received the recommended number of vaccine doses in 2008, placing New Hampshire among the top 5 states in the country. “We want to ensure that all New Hampshire children are appropriately immunized by the age of two,” says Dr. Montero, who urges parents to talk with their healthcare providers to understand their infants’ optimum immunization schedule.

In New Hampshire, all childhood vaccines are available to children at no cost. Vaccines are purchased through the New Hampshire Immunization Program with funds contributed by the federal and state governments and New Hampshire insurance companies. Most insurance companies pay for administering vaccines, but if a child is uninsured or underinsured, vaccine providers are asked to reduce or eliminate the fee.

Vaccine-preventable diseases include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemopholus influenza b (HIB), varicella (chicken pox) and pneumonia. “If you are unsure of the immunization status of your child, call your health care provider to see if your child is ‘up-to-date’ with all recommended vaccines”, says Marcella Bobinsky, NH Immunization Program Manager.

For more information on infant immunization, visit the New Hampshire Immunization Program web site at www.dhhs.nh.gov o, or the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control at www.cdc.gov .