April 14, 2008 (Flushing, NY)– Flushing Hospital is using National Infant Immunization Week, April 19-26, to encourage all parents to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician if their child isnÛªt up-to-date with their immunizations.
ÛÏEnsuring that children are fully immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases is the single most important way to keep children protected,Û said Dr. David Di John, Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Flushing Hospital Medical Center. ÛÏIt is extremely important for parents to understand the importance of vaccines and the benefits they directly offer children.Û
Infants are vulnerable to infectious diseases. Vaccines help protect them by preparing their bodies to fight certain serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. When a child is administered a vaccine, a weakened form, or a portion of the germ causing the disease is injected into their body. The body then makes antibodies to fight the germs. The antibodies remain in the body in order to destroy the actual disease germ if it ever tries to enter and attack the body.
Currently, there are vaccines that protect against at least 14 childhood diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis A and B, to name a few.
ÛÏMany of these diseases are serious and largely forgotten about because we havenÛªt seen epidemics associated with these diseases in recent years to remind us about them,Û explained Dr. Di John. ÛÏAlthough case numbers for many of these diseases are at an all-time low in the U.S., the viruses and bacteria that cause them still exist.Û
Even though vaccines help prevent diseases, there are still concerns parents have about the safety of immunizations, in particular; the side effects of immunizations, the number of immunizations children receive, and whether there is any relationship between immunizations and autism or other conditions.
ÛÏVaccines are a safe choice,Û said Dr. Di John. ÛÏWe now use multi-valent vaccines to decrease the number of shots needed, and studies have not proven that thereÛªs a link between autism and immunization. Overall, the risk to not immunize children is much greater than the mild and transient side effects associated with shots.Û
For additional information about recommended immunization schedules for children, visit “http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines” http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
FHMCÛªs mission is to provide superior service to patients and the community in a caring environment. FHMC serves a population greater than 1.9 million in Queens. FHMCÛªs Department of Pediatrics has both inpatient and outpatient services, with specialty areas that include: allergy, asthma, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, infant apnea, infectious disease, nephrology, neurology, pulmonary, and surgery. There is also an early intervention program that provides evaluations and therapy for infants and toddlers with suspected or confirmed developmental delays, as well as an audiology center to evaluate hearing problems in children. For additional information about Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.