According to the CDC, National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observation lasting for one week that calls attention to the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). The organization also notes it as a period in which there is showcasing of immunization programs’ accomplishments and their associates in fostering healthy populations.
Immunization (vaccination) involves protecting people from diseases by administering a vaccine and allowing them to develop immunity against the illness. Even though this week focuses on infants, we must highlight that immunization is applicable to adults too. In this post, we want to share with you the recommended infant immunizations and their importance.
The Importance Of Immunization
Immunization is one of the most basic yet best modalities of preventing and eradicating diseases in children. Immunizing your children now will even impact future generations, as it helps get rid of conditions that could spread into the future. In essence, vaccines help you to protect your children from numerous illnesses. By immunizing your kids, you also protect others, since the more persons immunized means the fewer people will become infected, and the less widely a disease can spread. Vaccination saves lives, and it’s better to prevent than to cure diseases!
How Do Immunizations Work?
All immunizations act similarly. Once someone receives a vaccine, their body begins to develop immunity against the virus the vaccine is made for. It trains the immune system to identify and respond to specific pathogens (an organism that causes disease). Immunizations allow the body to increase protection against infection before actually coming into contact with that infection.
Immunizations For Infants
Let’s take a look at the vaccines your infant should be receiving.
- Your baby must receive the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine before leaving the hospital. There are a total of three doses. The vaccine protects against the Hepatitis B virus, which causes chronic swelling of the liver and other severe complications such as cancer.
1 to 2 Months Old
- At 1 to 2 months of age, your baby should get immunized with the following vaccines:
- Hepatitis B– the second dose.
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis) (DTaP)– Tdap is a combination vaccine that protects against three possibly life-threatening bacterial diseases.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)– Hib is a bacterium that can cause a severe infection. This infection primarily affects infants and children under five years of age.
- Polio (IPV)- Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis.
- Pneumococcal (PCV)- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is used to prevent infants, young children, and adults from developing diseases induced by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Rotavirus (RV)- Is a vaccine that protects against rotavirus infections. These infections are the number one reason for severe diarrhea among young children.
4 Months Old
- Hepatitis B– the third dose.
7-11 Months Old
- Babies 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccination every flu season.
It is important to note that your child can receive these immunizations up to 23 months old except for polio, which is given up to 18 months. Immunization saves lives. It protects you, your family, and the community. We encourage all parents to get their children immunized to ensure they can have a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Recommended Vaccines by Age. (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vaccines-age.html
Why immunization is important | betterhealth.vic.gov.au. (2019). Vic.gov.au. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Why-immunisation-is-important
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). (2021). https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html