National Infant Immunization Week
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 18 - April 25, 2015. NIIW celebrates the successes of immunization programs around the country and highlights the importance of immunizing. Since 1994, NIIW has served as a call to action for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that infants are fully immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, including influenza.
The AAP offers several new resources for pediatricians and families on the importance of vaccinating.
World Immunization Week: 2015 marks the fourth World Immunization Week. The AAP is a partner in two immunization campaigns supporting worldwide immunization efforts:
Experts and parents from around the country answer frequently asked questions on the importance of immunization, immunization safety, recent pertussis outbreaks, and more. Click here for the full listing of audio interviews.
Key Messaging from CDC
Key messages help everybody in your organization speak with one voice about your NIIW programs. These can be changed to suit your own needs. Consider posting one message for each day of National Infant Immunization Week on your own Web site.
- National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. This year, NIIW is scheduled to be held April 18-25, 2015.
- NIIW provided an opportunity to draw attention to these issues and to focus on solutions. Communities have continued to use the week each year to raise awareness about the importance of ensuring all children are fully protected from vaccine preventable diseases through immunization. Today, many immunization programs, partners and communities can celebrate high infant immunization rates.
- During the last week in April for the past 20 years, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined those in countries around the world to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting the health of our children, families, and communities. The United States celebrates NIIW as part of World Immunization Week (April 24-30, 2015), an initiative of the World Health Organization.
- The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines to children who are underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. The VCF program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule and has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.
- 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. Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
- Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, healthcare professionals, and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.
- Healthcare professionals remain parents’ most trusted source of information about vaccines for their children. They play a critical role in supporting parents in understanding and choosing vaccinations.
- Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines. Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to ensure that their baby is up-to-date on immunizations.
- Protecting babies from whooping cough begins before a baby is even born. All pregnant women are recommended to receive the whooping cough vaccine, or Tdap, during the third trimester of each pregnancy to help protect their baby from whopping cough until he can receive his first whooping cough vaccine at 2 months. Learn more about the CDC’s Born With Protection campaign at www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant.
Influenza Prevention and Control
NIIW provides an opportunity for public health professionals, health care professionals, health advocates, communities, and families from across the country to work together to lay the groundwork and promote flu vaccination now and in anticipation of the 2015-2016 influenza season. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin early in the fall and last late into the spring. By reinforcing influenza vaccine messages during NIIW, partners can bring together resources and reach people before flu season swings into full gear.
Planning for the next flu season is underway. The vaccine viruses recommended by the World Health Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee were announced for the 2015-16 influenza season. The strains for the 2015-16 influenza season differ from those for the existing influenza season. For details see the AAP Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2014–2015 flu policy.
Vaccination remains the most important step in protecting against influenza. The AAP recommends annual seasonal influenza immunization for all people 6 months and older, including all children and adolescents. Yearly vaccination is especially important for people who come into contact with high risk children in order to protect the child (or children) from the flu. Antiviral medications are a valuable second line of defense for children, but should not be a substitute for influenza immunization. In January 2015, the AAP endorsed a CDC letter to clinicians recommending prompt antiviral treatment when flu is suspected.
After reviewing data from recent flu seasons indicating that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) did not provide extra protection against circulating influenza strains that are not in the vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) members decided to not express a preference for either LAIV or inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV) for the upcoming 2015-2016 influenza season. The AAP also has discussed this topic and expresses no preference for one product over the other. The AAP encourages pediatric practices to preorder vaccine that best suits the needs of their patient population.
During NIIW and into the summer, prepare for the upcoming flu season, consider taking the following steps:
- Sign up and share information about the AAP “What’s the Latest with the Flu” messaging series. The purpose of this monthly messaging series is to offer a quick snapshot that addresses the current situation with the flu with links back to AAP and/or CDC resources. To sign up, send a message to DisasterReady@aap.org.
- Check out the AAP Flu Courses for pediatricians and other clinicians who care for children.
- Review the AAP Red Book Online Influenza Resource Page and CDC FluView.
- Consider partnering with child care facilities to share influenza strategies. As a large number of children are enrolled in Head Start or other early education and child care programs throughout the country, partnering with child care facilities to share influenza strategies could prove to be beneficial. The following is a list of resources for child care providers:
These posters can be displayed in waiting rooms or exam rooms. They encourage parents to get their kids immunized.
Educational Resources for Providers
Educational Resources for Parents
Last Updated: 3/30/15