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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday April 21, 2011

Montana DPHHS Encourages Infant Immunizations

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is promoting National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 23-30 to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their children against serious diseases. Infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases and benefit from immunization. All infants should be immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two years. 

Adults who are around infants should also be immunized against most of these diseases to help prevent exposing infants to infectious diseases. Some of these diseases include diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox), and polio.

"Vaccines are among the safest, most successful, and cost effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death," DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell said. "Vaccines not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases, and it’s easy for parents to do."

Vaccine-preventable diseases can be more serious for infants or young children. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 72% of infants younger than six months of age with pertussis must be hospitalized. In the US, about 84% of all deaths from pertussis occur among children younger than six months of age. In 2010, Montana reported 122 cases of pertussis, including 13 cases among infants younger than 12 months of age.

"Parents are encouraged to talk with their child’s healthcare provider to be sure their child is up-to-date on immunizations," emphasized Lisa Underwood of the DPHHS State Immunization Program. "Vaccines are often covered by health insurance. But if not, local health departments and programs such as Vaccines for Children may be able to help."

For more information about infant immunizations, contact your healthcare provider or local public health department.

Page last updated: 07/30/2013