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April 14, 2004

County Health Department Reminds Parents to Check Kids' Immunization Records

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Oswego County Health Department will observe National Infant Immunization Week April 25 through May l.

"Immunizations are one of the most important ways parents can protect their children against serious diseases," said Kathleen Smith, Commissioner of Oswego County Health Services. "Although immunization coverage among children in the United States is the highest ever recorded for most vaccines, one million of our nation's children are still not fully immunized."

To support National Infant Immunization Week, the Oswego County Health Department will be holding immunization clinics on Friday, April 30, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Pulaski at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, and from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Oswego County Health Department at 70 Bunner St. in Oswego.

Babies need to be immunized against 12 diseases before age two. Despite recent gains in childhood immunization coverage, more than 20% of the nation's two-year-olds are still missing one or more of the recommended immunizations.

"Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease; that is why it is critical that they are protected through immunization. Vaccinating your children in the first 24 months of life is important to protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases that still exist in our community," said Smith.

For example, each year the United States is hit with multiple importations of measles. Measles is no longer circulating in the United States, but the virus is frequently imported from outside this country. In 1989, the United States was hit with a measles epidemic that resulted in 55,000 cases of measles, 11,000 hospitalizations, and more than 120 deaths between 1989 and 1991.

For more information on childhood immunizations, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or visit the NewYortk State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ny.us

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