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Department:

City Services

April 28, 2014

CDPH Launches Campaign to Encourage Parents to Protect Their Children Through Vaccination

Community outreach seeks to highlight the safety and effectiveness of childhood immunization

Ryan Gage    ryan.gage@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO - In recognition of National Infant immunization Week, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of childhood vaccination. The campaign reminds parents to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect their infants and children through direct advertising and the distribution of informational material to online community portals.

Each year, numerous vaccine-preventable illnesses are reported in Illinois. Certain diseases, such as measles, are making a comeback as some parents choose to either delay or decline vaccinations for their children.

"It is critically important for parents to make sure their children receive all recommended doses of vaccines on time. Most vaccines should be administered in the first two years of life," said Dr. Julie Morita, Medical Director for the CDPH Immunization Program. "Immunizations provide protection on not only the individual level, but on the community level as well."

CDPH's Immunization Program works to prevent the spread of illness by vaccinating adults and children for protection against a wide variety of diseases. These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Coverage levels for most vaccines are at or near all-time highs. However, in 2012, Chicago coverage levels for preschool aged children (19-35 month olds) dipped below 90% for measles (87%) and whooping cough (79%) vaccines. This suggests that 13-21% of young children in Chicago may not be fully protected against these serious diseases.

Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world. One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is an increase in measles cases or outbreaks that were reported in 2013. Data from 2013 showed a higher than normal number of measles cases nationally and in individual states, including an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City that was the largest reported outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1996. There is an ongoing need for parents to be vigilant with vaccination schedules to ensure these outbreaks are contained as much as possible or eliminated altogether.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Diseases that vaccines protect against include chickenpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, rotavirus, haemophilus influenza type b, pneumococcus and influenza. For the 2014 infant immunizations schedule, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html

To get your child vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 311 or go to cityofchicago.org/health to find a Fast-Track Immunization Clinic.

The Chicago Department of Public Health is a member of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC), a 501 (c)(4) organization of public health departments. Members include the Village of Skokie, and the Counties of Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and Winnebago. These organizations are promoting in unison the importance of immunizations in observance of National Infant Immunizations Week.