This week marks National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), an annual observance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to share the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children under the age of two.
Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. According to TIME, one in five children around the world lack access to immunizations that help keep children in the U.S. healthy. Every 20 seconds, a child in the developing world dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.
Despite these figures, vaccination remains a controversial subject and parents who choose not to vaccinate do so out of the belief that they are putting their children’s health first. But the data points to the contrary. California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have reported rising rates of whooping cough, which public health officials attribute in part to parents opting out of vaccines for themselves and their children. Measles cases in the U.S. are also the highest they’ve been in 15 years.
Got questions about immunizations for your child? Check out this interactive immunization guide: