Garland Public Health Clinic is celebrating the 20th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week from April 26 to May 3. Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to emphasize the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
Immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the United States. Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. It's easy to think of these as diseases that only existed in the past. But the truth is, they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases. In fact, when vaccination rates drop in a community, it's not uncommon to have an outbreak.
In recent years, Texas (including Garland) has seen a sharp increase in cases of pertussis (whooping cough). Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that initially resembles an ordinary cold. Infants are particularly at risk since they are not fully vaccinated against pertussis until after they are a year old. The best way to prevent the spread of whooping cough to infants and young children is by making sure everyone around them is immunized. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents (including those 65 years and older), other family members, babysitters, etc. They should be up-to-date with the age-appropriate vaccine (DTaP or Tdap) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the infant.
Getting the Tdap vaccination is also important for pregnant women. By getting the Tdap vaccination during pregnancy, mothers build antibodies that are transferred to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life. And, of course, giving your baby all of the recommended immunizations is the best way to protect him from 14 serious diseases, like measles and whooping cough. For more information, please call the Garland Public Health Clinic at 972-205-3370 or visit our website Public Health Clinic page.