The Indiana State Department of Health launched an initiative today to help new parents get children immunized on time. Starting today, parents of every child born in Indiana will receive a greeting card from State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D., congratulating them on the birth of their child. The card reminds parents that vaccines begin at two months of age and a tear-out childhood immunization record is included.
Each personalized greeting card is donated by Hallmark as part of their “For America’s Babies” campaign. Indiana joins 24 states in the initiative. New parents, Craig and Amy Monnett and Baby Liam received the first card from Dr. VanNess at the campaign launch at IU Health West Hospital this morning. Approximately 83,000 babies are born each year in the state.
“Not all our children in the 19-35 months age range are fully protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses,” said Dr. VanNess. “The For America’s Babies campaign in Indiana is another way we can help to change that by reminding parents when certain vaccines are due.”
Approximately 61 percent of Hoosier children ages 19-35 months receive immunizations on time according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended schedule.
For America’s Babies is being launched in Indiana during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 26-May 3. Indiana was selected as the launch state by the CDC to call attention to the state’s immunization successes, as well as to the importance of remaining vigilant to ensure children are fully protected from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases by their second birthday.
Anne Schuchat, M.D., Director of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and Assistant U.S. Surgeon General, gave a presentation to guests about the importance of infant immunizations as part of the launch.
According to Dr. Schuchat, modeling from CDC estimates that in children born between 1994 and 2013, vaccinations will prevent about 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. This will also net a savings of $295 billion in direct costs and $1.4 trillion in total societal costs.
“Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from several harmful and potentially deadly diseases,” said Dr. Schuchat. “Parents who are unsure of their children’s immunization status should speak with their healthcare professional.”
Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is necessary to protect everyone from potential outbreaks. Even when diseases are rare in the U.S., they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. Nationally, the U.S. is currently experiencing outbreaks of measles, and Indiana has also seen recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, including chickenpox, pertussis and mumps.
Individuals can access their official immunization records at no cost by visiting www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov.
Records can be viewed, printed, downloaded or faxed through the use of a personal identification number (PIN). PINs may be obtained from healthcare providers and local health departments upon request.