The Chester County Health Department is supporting the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Voices for Vaccines by highlighting their resources for National Infant Immunization Week, April 24th to the 30th.
The Health Department’s Immunization Clinic and the Chester County Immunization Coalition strive to connect parents with the resources and information they need when deciding to vaccinate their children.
“Infants and children deserve to be protected against serious infectious diseases like measles and polio through proven vaccines,” Public Health Nurse and Chair of the Chester County Immunization Coalition Laura Harbage, BSN, RN, said. “National Infant Immunization Week gives physicians and parents the opportunity to highlight the importance of maintaining a high level of protection for our children and a barrier against 15 vaccine preventable diseases.”
Unfortunately, the COVID-19-related disruptions have continued to affect vaccination rates nationwide. State-required vaccines for kindergartners dropped in the 2020-2021 school year from 95% to 94% and in the 2021-2022 school year from 94% to 93%. Any decrease in vaccination rates, regardless of the size, results in the opportunity for vaccine preventable diseases like measles to return.
“Vaccinations are essential to supporting the immune systems of infants, children and adolescents so that they can resist disease and live healthy lives,” Director of the Chester County Health Department Jeanne Franklin said. “We are happy to promote AAP and Voices for Vaccines’ resources to help parents access accurate information about immunizations.”
The collection of resources includes a new interactive tool, Conversations About Vaccines, that allows parents to find answers to their vaccine questions in English and Spanish. This is in addition to YouTube videos in English and Spanish explaining the immunization schedule for children, how vaccines work, and other topics. Also, Voices for Vaccines’ blog shares firsthand accounts from parents who have recognized the lifesaving protection vaccines offer.
More resources include:
“We encourage you to follow up with your pediatrician to make sure that your child is up to date for all vaccine preventable diseases and, if not, make a plan to catch up,” Harbage said. “If your child is up to date for recommended vaccines, know that these vaccines protect not only your child but other children who are immunocompromised or too young to be fully vaccinated.”
The Chester County Health Department invites all parents and caregivers to explore these resources and speak with their healthcare provider about questions and concerns regarding vaccinations. For information on the immunization schedule for children, and the diseases they protect against, visit this CDC resource.
To schedule a vaccination appointment for yourself or your child, visit the Child and Adult Immunizations page, or call 610-344-6225.