The important role vaccines may play in helping to keep children and adults healthy

Every one of the nearly 12,000 babies born in the United States each day are vulnerable to infectious diseases. The good news is that vaccines can help protect children from certain diseases.

As National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) approaches, it is timely to remember the role that vaccinations can play in helping to control certain diseases among infants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), routine vaccination of the nearly 4 million babies born in the US each year helps 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 elimination or near-elimination of some diseases in the U.S., like polio.

Vaccination is considered to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the last two centuries. NIIW, which is held April 18 – 25 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 promoting healthy communities.

Today vaccines can help to protect against 14 diseases before age two. “Currently, rates of some diseases are increasing and could continue to do so if vaccination rates decrease,” explains Dalia McCoy, M.D. Board Certified in Family Medicine practicing at Cleveland Clinic Florida. “Failure to vaccinate could mean putting your own children at risk for serious diseases.”

It is also important to know that vaccines are not just recommended for infants. “Vaccination is important in helping maintain health and wellness across a lifetime. Some potentially serious diseases can make even strong and healthy people sick, and vaccines are recommended for people of all ages,” says McCoy. “In the U.S., most young children receive many of the recommended vaccines, but there is room to improve vaccination rates among all groups, including adolescents and adults.”

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.LifetimeOfVaccines.com to learn more.

This information is provided by Merck.


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