Health

Vaccines Help Protect Children from Disease

Vaccine-Jionnie-Arellano

Fourteen.

This is the number of vaccines children should get over their first 18 months to avoid getting sick.

April 22-29 is National Infant Immunization Week, and the County Health and Human Services Agency is reminding parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with immunizations.

“Vaccines offer the best protection against disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Parents should make sure their children start their shots on time and stay on schedule. Immunizations prevent disease, disability, and in the worst cases, death.”

Parents should ask their doctor or clinic to check their child’s immunization record and make sure their baby is up-to-date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends infants get shots at birth, 2, 4, 6, 12, 15, and 18 months of age to protect them against many diseases including measles, meningitis and whooping cough.

Surveys indicate that vaccination coverage among San Diego County kindergarteners is near an all-time high. During the current school year, 1,059 of more than 46,000 local kindergartners were missing some or all recommended vaccines. However, about 45,000 babies are born every year and they should be immunized on time to stay healthy.

Babies are not the only ones who should be vaccinated. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, and babysitters also need to be up to date. High immunization coverage levels mean fewer people get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“No child, adolescent, or adult should suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Wooten, adding that making sure children have all the recommended vaccines is part of Live Well San Diego, a vision for healthy, safe and thriving residents. “Immunizations are the best thing parents can do to protect their children from serious disease.”

For more information on immunizations and the diseases they prevent, parents should contact their health care provider, visit www.sdiz.org or call the County Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact