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Office of Communications

National Infant Immunization Week is April 16 - 23

For Release: April 13, 2016 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601

Vaccinations Encouraged for Local, National and World Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will observe the celebration of National Infant Immunization Week, April 16 - 23. Hundreds of communities across the United States will unite with countries around the world to highlight the success of vaccines in protecting the health of children, families and communities.

“Oklahomans are known for helping those in need,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “Vaccinating our children is one way we can protect ourselves and the entire world. We want all children to have the chance to live long and healthy lives.”

National Infant Immunization Week is a reminder that each vaccine given to a child has an impact on a much larger scale, with benefits extending to the community, state, country and the entire world. Each dose of vaccine has the potential to save the lives of children now and those of future generations here and abroad. As more diseases are eradicated by vaccines, all children born will be automatically protected and these diseases will no longer be a threat.

By countries working together, smallpox was eradicated from the world with a vaccine and public health officials are close to wiping out polio. The last U.S. polio epidemic dates back to 1952 when more than 21,000 Americans were paralyzed by the polio virus, many permanently. In 2015, there were only 96 cases of polio in the world, and the disease could be entirely gone within the next few years. 

The World Health Organization estimates that since 1988, 1.5 million lives have been saved and 13 million people are able to walk today because of the public health push to eradicate polio. Although many diseases are rare in the U.S., they are still common in many parts of the world and can be brought to the U.S. by individuals traveling from other countries. 

Vaccines are available for all children through the federal Vaccines for Children program or through private health insurance.  All county health departments, along with many private health care providers in Oklahoma, participate in the Vaccines for Children program.

For more information about childhood vaccinations, contact the local County Health Department or visit the OSDH website at: https://www.ok.gov/health/.

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