HARRISBURG – As the school year starts across Pennsylvania, the Department of Health is reminding parents of the importance of ensuring their children are up-to-date on immunizations.
“Parents should remember to include immunizations as part of the back-to-school checklist for their children,” Wolf said.
In 2012 there were 1,627 confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, reported to the Department of Health, up from 547 in 2011. Pertussis, just one vaccine preventable disease, can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults and can even be fatal, especially in infants.
While immunizations have significantly reduced the incidence of many serious infectious diseases, parents are often unaware that children are at risk for so many serious and life-threatening diseases. The low levels of vaccine-preventable diseases at the national level show immunizations work to control the spread of infectious diseases.
Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for parents to protect their children and prevent disease.
“Getting your child immunized means you’re not only protecting them, but you’re also protecting those who are too young to be vaccinated or people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,” Wolf added.
August marks the annual National Immunization Awareness Month, or NIAM, which reminds people of all ages to keep up-to-date on immunizations. NIAM’s goal is to increase awareness about immunizations, from infants to the elderly.
For more information on immunizations, please visit www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.