OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department recently celebrated National Infant Immunization Week (April 22 to 29) and reminds residents of the importance of childhood vaccination.
“Parents want to do what is best for their children,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “They know the importance of car seats, safe sleep practices and other ways to protect them. One of the best protections is to make sure that their children have all of their vaccinations. Immunization is the most effective way to prevent many infectious diseases. Families, healthcare professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community in this way.”
The health department offers parents five important reasons to vaccinate their children.
• Safe and Effective: Vaccines are given to children only after careful review by scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals. Side effects such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot are usually mild and minimal when compared to the pain and discomfort, or risk of injury and death, from the diseases the vaccines prevent. Serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, are very rare. According to Oswego County Immunization Coordinator Deborah McCarthy, RN, “The disease prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.”
• Save a Child’s Life: Children can be protected against more diseases than ever before because of advances in medical science. Some diseases that once affected thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one such example. It was once one of the more feared diseases, causing death and paralysis; however, the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979 because of vaccinations.
• Protect Others: A resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough (pertussis) in recent years continues to affect children. It is important that adults and children who can be vaccinated get fully immunized to protect family, friends and other loved ones who can’t be vaccinated from disease. Some babies are too young to receive vaccinations and others may not be able to receive them due to severe allergies, a weakened immune system from conditions such as leukemia, or other medical reasons.
• Protect Future Generations: Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s healthcare provider to ensure that their baby is up-to-date on immunizations. “If we continue vaccinations now, and vaccinate completely, future parents may be able to trust that some of today’s diseases will no longer be around to harm their children,” said Jodi Martin, SPHN for the Oswego County Health Department’s Preventative Services Division.
• Save Time and Money: Some vaccine-preventable diseases can keep a child from attending schools and daycare facilities or result in prolonged disabilities. This can take a financial toll because of medical bills, long-term disability care, or a parent’s lost time at work. In contrast, vaccinations are a good investment and usually covered by insurance.
The Oswego County Health Department offers immunization clinics from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday at 70 Bunner St. in Oswego.
A second clinic is open by appointment only from 9 to 11 a.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Pulaski Courthouse on Broad Street.
Attendees need to bring their shot record and insurance card.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines or call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.