April 13, 2022
Celebrate National Infant Immunization Week with Routine Immunizations for Your Child
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is a yearly observance (April 24 – 30, 2022) highlighting the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases. This year, in particular, it’s critical to ensure that families stay on track for children’s routine checkups and recommended vaccinations following disruptions from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic leads to major backsliding on childhood vaccination. Many children in Washington state missed basic vaccines through routine immunization service. We have gone backwards on other vaccinations, leaving children at risk of devastating, but preventable diseases.
National Infant Immunization Week is the perfect time to learn about the vaccines your baby needs. Healthcare providers can help to improve immunization coverage rates by assessing immunization status of their patients at every visit and through the use of reminder/recall systems. Parents can also monitor their child’s immunization status and work with healthcare providers to ensure every child is protected by being up-to-date on important immunizations.
Here in Washington state, we are experiencing similar impacts from COVID-19 and can help protect our children through similar actions and communication with our health care providers. The Immunization Action Coalition of Washington state chairperson, Neil Kaneshiro, M.D. made this important message:
“In Washington, we saw a critical decline in childhood immunization rates due to understandable concerns about COVID exposures in medical offices. Safety measures are now in place in medical facilities and it is generally safe to receive routine medical care again. However, there are still many infants and children behind on their routine immunizations which increases the risk of an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease. NIIW is an opportunity to catch up on recommended preventive visits with your healthcare provider and bring immunizations up to date. Keeping your child up to date on immunizations not only protects your child but also protects our community at large. Call your healthcare provider today!”
What you can do for NIIW?
- Share NIIW promotional materials on your social media, websites and other communication channels.
- Share positive key messages that promote infant immunization on social media platforms with the hashtag: #ivax2protect or #LetsTalkAboutVaxBaby
- Register for the upcoming Immunization Action Coalition of WA quarterly meeting.
- Provide spaces for your community to share stories on child immunizations and/or to interview immunization experts that attract local media interest
What can providers do for NIIW?
- Learn simple tips for talking with parents about childhood vaccines.
- Highlight the importance of vaccination during COVID-19 by utilizing our “Stay Safe, Stay Health, Stay Vaccinated!” social media toolkit.
- Build a culture of immunization in your practice, clinic or organization: 10 Ways to Create a Culture of Immunization Within Our Pediatric Practice.
Resources for parents:
- Make sure your child is up-to-date on their recommended vaccines. See the Washington State Department of Health For Children page for immunization schedules and information.
- Learn more about childhood immunizations on ParentHelp123.org.
- Learn about the importance of and why you should vaccinate your children on the CDC website.