National Infant Immunization Week


Local pediatricians are stressing the importance of getting the shots.

"If you look at the cause of death of children under age 4 from 1950, 6 of those were infectious diseases, today there's only one, so when you look at the effectiveness of vaccines it's really our most successful health initiative that's been done over the last century, " says Dr. Michael Ramsey, Pediatrician at Dothan Pediatric Clinic.

Dr. Michael Ramsey understands the importance of infant immunizations; so much so that he was recently awarded the Childhood Immunization Champion Award for Alabama through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ramsey says, timing is everything.

"The reason why we give the vaccines when we give them is because they protect children during those critical times when they are most at risk,".

"Any immunity that a baby has right after it's born is only temporary, so that schedule of vaccines that they're suppose to get thru the first year, first two years is very important in protecting them from preventable diseases, " says Corey Kirkland, Assistant Area Administrator at the Houston County Health Department.

Diseases that can cause serious damage if left untreated.

"People say well I had chicken pox when i was younger, it's not that big of a deal but even chicken pox can have life threatening pneumonia and complications from skin infections, " says Ramsey.

"Some diseases unfortunately can cause death if they have complications with them, some can cause scarring, they can cause some disabilities, there are some that are preventable that can cause retardation, " says Kirkland.

"I think that the things that make parents anxious about vaccinations is they are injections, they're shots and so a minute or two of discomfort is worth a lifetime of protection," says Ramsey.

Immunizations can be given to children as young as 2 months old.

In 1994, The Federal Government started the program "Vaccinations For Children".

The program provides vaccines to children who don't have insurance or are under-insured.

For more information on the importance of vaccinations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, CDC.gov.


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