National Infant Immunization Week – April 25 through May 2, 2022

Infant receiving immunitization shot

Infant Immunizations: Optimizing Your Baby’s Health

Vaccines safeguard your baby’s health against preventable diseases. Scheduling recommended vaccinations for your baby is the best way to protect against 14 serious childhood diseases and consequences that can result in impaired physical and/or cognitive development or even death.

A baby’s immune system is not fully developed at birth, which puts newborns at greater risk for infections. What’s more, children under 5 years are especially susceptible to diseases because their immune systems haven’t yet built defenses to fight infection. Beginning during infancy, immunizations protect your child from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) throughout their life, providing them the foundation for developing a strong immune system and best opportunity for having a healthy life.

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 25 through May 2, and your Capital Women’s Care team wants to share vital information about recommended immunizations based on the latest guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including specific maternal vaccines during pregnancy that safeguard not only you but also your developing baby’s health.

Ensure Infant Wellness

COVID-19 has caused many disruptions, including missed or delayed wellness checkups and vaccinations, both key elements to ensuring quality health for your child, according to a May 2020 CDC report. The report indicated a critical decline in routine childhood vaccination due to family isolation practices throughout the pandemic.

Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) published similar findings regarding global immunization coverage:

  • Global coverage dropped from 86% in 2019 to 83% in 2020.
  • An estimated 23 million children under the age 1 year did not receive basic vaccines, the highest number since 2009.
  • In 2020 the number of completely unvaccinated children increased by 3.4 million.
  • Only 19 vaccine introductions were reported in 2020, less than half of any year in the past 2 decades.
  • 1.6 million more girls were not fully protected against human papillomavirus (HPV) in 2020, compared to 2019.

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend children stay on track with well-child appointments and routine vaccinations.

As we return to in-person activities, the CDC recommends checking with your child’s healthcare provider to make sure your child is up to date on recommended vaccines. Doing so provides them with critical immunity against potentially life-threatening diseases and prevents infectious disease spread.
The CDC recommended vaccine schedule offers:

  • your baby valuable protection at just the right time from 14 potentially serious diseases.
  • prevention from serious disease complications risks.
  • early protection before exposure to dangerous diseases takes place.
  • best health protection from identified diseases once vaccine schedules are completed.
  • long-term protection beyond maternal antibodies and breastfeeding.
  • prevention of spreading disease to others, including family members and community.

Among children born between 1994 and 2018, vaccinations will prevent an estimated 936,000 early deaths, 8 million hospitalizations and 419 million illnesses, according to the CDC.

Recommended Vaccines

Vaccines have the power to protect. Giving babies the recommended vaccinations by age 2 is the best way to protect them from these 14 serious childhood diseases:

  • Hepatitis A, a contagious liver infection which disrupts liver function.
  • Hepatitis B, another contagious liver infection which can remain throughout life and cause liver cancer.
  • Diphtheria, a potentially fatal condition in which airways can become blocked, restricting breathing. It can also cause heart problems and throat muscle paralysis, inhibiting ability to swallow.
  • Hib Disease (Hemophilus influenzae type b), a serious disease which can cause meningitis and pneumonia.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough), persistent violent coughing and choking which can last for weeks.
  • Pneumococcal disease, a potentially fatal bacterial infection which can cause pneumonia.
  • Polio, a viral infection accompanied by possible fever, pain, sore throat, headache and paralysis and death in some instances.
  • Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, that can often cause severe symptoms in infants.
  • Measles, a very contagious disease that includes cough, fever and rash. In severe cases it can cause brain damage, pneumonia, seizures and death.
  • Mumps is another contagious condition that includes headaches, fever, pain and swelling in the salivary glands.
  • Rotavirus includes diarrhea and vomiting usually lasting between 3 to 8 days, abdominal pain and fever.
  • Rubella (German Measles), is a virus with key symptoms of fever, rash and swollen glands that occur for about 3 days. Severe complications can arise if a pregnant woman has rubella. A pregnant woman with rubella is at greater risk of miscarriage and her baby may have physical defects including loss of sight or hearing and heart problems.
  • Tetanus (lockjaw), affects the muscles, causing them to spasm. Other symptoms include headaches, fever and muscle pain. The jaw muscles may spasm causing the jaw to 'lock'. Tetanus is caused by environmental bacteria, infecting the body through open cuts or wounds. A rusty nail penetrating skin or an open cut exposed to soil are 2 ways to become infected.
  • Varicella (chickenpox), is a highly contagious virus including a rash and spots on face and body.

The CDC also provides up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination guidelines for children and teens.

The CDC’s schedule of immunizations recommends immunizations for infants through teens age 18 years. These recommendations are approved by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP.) The CDC also offers a vaccine assessment tool you can use to determine your child’s immunization needs.

Vaccines and Pregnant Women

It’s important for women who wish to conceive to talk with their Capital Women’s Care practitioner about their vaccination history to make sure they are up to date on immunizations before becoming pregnant.

Women wishing to conceive should have an MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine 1 month or more before pregnancy, unless they are already protected.

Once a woman becomes pregnant, the CDC advises a Tdap vaccine to protect her baby from whooping cough. The Tdap vaccine is administered during the 27th through 36th week (third trimester) of pregnancy.

Additionally, the CDC also recommends pregnant women get an influenza vaccine by the end of October if pregnant during flu season. Doing so not only protects women from pregnancy-related influenza complications but also provides protective antibodies to their babies until a recommended influenza vaccine may be administered when babies reach 6 months old.

The need for vaccines like hepatitis A and B, meningococcal, and others may be recommended if you have certain health conditions, work in a lab or travel to countries with increased risk of exposure to vaccine-preventable disease. Talk with your Capital Women’s Care practitioner during your preconception health plan visit to determine additional vaccine recommendations based on your personal health and lifestyle.

Tips to Protect Your Infant’s Health

There are many things you can do to protect your baby’s health:

  • It’s important to maintain well checkup and vaccination schedules to best protect your baby’s health.
  • Keep a vaccination record for your baby, in addition to one for yourself, your partner and older children within your household.
  • Make sure those who are in physical contact with your baby have appropriate immunizations, including grandparents, caregivers and others to avoid serious infection risk and spread.
  • Before traveling, learn about possible disease risks and vaccines that will protect your family.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of knowledgeable women’s health experts are here to answer your questions and address your concerns regarding infant immunizations or any women’s health issue. Our doctors, nurses and medical support teams prioritize you and your family’s health so you can enjoy and maintain a long quality life.

Sources:

https://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/nationalinfantimmunizationwee...
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/key-messages.html
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6919e2.htm?s_cid=mm6919e2_w
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2...
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html
https://www.babycheckupscount.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_ca...
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/by-age/birth.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child-easyread.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/adolescent-easyread....
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infantcare/conditioninfo/immuniz...
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/hcp-toolkit/important-maternal-va...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/percentage-of-you...
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/immunize.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927017/
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/immunization-coverage
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html

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