SPRINGFIELD – After two individuals with measles traveled through Chicago O’Hare airport earlier this year, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., is asking parents to talk with a health care provider during National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-28, 2018, to make sure their children are fully immunized.
“Children can suffer serious illness when exposed to diseases like measles, mumps, and pertussis,” said Director Shah. “Although vaccines are among the most successful, safest, and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death, some people still chose not to be vaccinated. That is why it is important that you protect your child against serious illness by having them vaccinated before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.”
Through on-time immunization, parent can protect infants and children from 14 vaccine- preventable diseases before age two. Because of the success of vaccines, parents may not have heard of or seen the serious health effects caused by vaccine-preventable diseases, like polio.
While childhood immunization rates remain high, children in the U.S. can and sometimes do get diseases that some parents might consider diseases of the past.
In the 1950's, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, many practicing physicians have never seen a case of measles due to the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can still be commonly transmitted in many parts of the world and brought into the country by unvaccinated individuals, putting other unvaccinated people at risk.
The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost for children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. The VCF program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. More information about the VFC program and immunizations can be found on the IDPH website.