(BPT) – Every one of the nearly 12,000 babies born in the United States each day may be susceptible to infectious diseases. The good news is that vaccines can help protect children from some of these diseases.
As National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) approaches, it is timely to remember the role that vaccinations can play in helping to prevent certain diseases among infants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that routine vaccination of the nearly 4 million babies born in the US each year may help to prevent about 20 million cases of diseases that they could develop over their lifetime. In fact, over time, successful vaccination campaigns have contributed to the near elimination or elimination of some diseases in the U.S., like polio.
Vaccination is considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements since 1900. NIIW, which is held April 22 – 29 this year, highlights the importance of helping to protect infants from diseases for which there are vaccines and celebrates the achievements of vaccination programs in helping to promote healthy communities.
“Today vaccines can help to protect against 14 diseases before age two,” explains Eddy Bresnitz, M.D., M.S., Executive Director, Merck Vaccines Global Health & Medical Affairs. “Failure to vaccinate may mean putting your children at risk for potentially serious diseases.”
‘In the U.S., most young children receive many of the recommended vaccines, but there is room to improve vaccination rates among all groups, involving a dolescents and adults,” says Bresnitz.
In fact, the CDC has specific recommended vaccination schedules that cover children, adolescents and adults. Talk to your healthcare provider about vaccines that may be recommended for you and your loved ones, and visit www.vaccinesandyou.com to learn more.
This information is provided by Merck.
* Olympic champion Usain Bolt joins PAHO to promote vaccination
The "world's fastest man" lends his image and voice to support this year's Vaccination Week in the Americas
Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt has joined the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination in protecting health and preventing disease.
The six-time Olympic gold medalist and 11-time world champion sprinter appears on posters and in a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging people to get vaccinated.
The PSA and posters are part of PAHO's 14th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas campaign, which highlights the life-saving benefits of vaccines. Countries throughout the Americas celebrate Vaccination Week each year with activities focused on reaching populations who lack regular access to health services.
"Being the best athlete I can means staying healthy - including keeping up to date on my vaccines," Bolt says in a social media post for the campaign. In the PSA, he says "I'm up to date on my vaccines. Are you?" and urges viewers to "Go for the gold" and get vaccinated.
"Go for the gold - Get vaccinated!" is the campaign slogan for this year's Vaccination Week in the Americas, which takes place from April 23 to 30. It references the upcoming 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, in which Bolt is scheduled to compete.
"Vaccination is one of the most effective means we have to protect the health of children as well as adults," said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. "Having a world-class champion like Mr. Bolt supporting our campaign will help us reach more people with information on the benefits of vaccination - and for that, we are enormously grateful."
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