Jaclyn Giovis, Director of Communications
15107 Vanowen Street
Van Nuys, CA 91405
818.902.7920 – office
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- National Immunization Awareness Month | 2010-08-05
Van Nuys, CA - August 5, 2010 - This summer’s outbreak of whooping cough in California makes National Immunization Awareness Month in August an even more important reminder emphasizing the vital need to ensure vaccinations are current for everyone in the family – from infants to the elderly.
Immunizations are available to protect children from whooping cough, also known as pertussis. But sometimes parents don’t remember to vaccinate their children. In other cases, those who aren’t immunized – or aren’t yet fully immunized – can infect others. The California Department of Public Health recently expanded its vaccine recommendations for whooping cough to try to combat the outbreak.
“Because the mother is in closest contact with the baby, making sure mothers are vaccinated is an infant's best immediate protection against whooping cough, or pertussis,” said Jerry Pennington, Infection Preventionist for Valley Presbyterian Hospital. “Babies first receive whooping cough vaccinations at 2 months of age. Women who haven't had a pertussis-diphtheria-tetanus booster shot should get one in their annual visit to their family doctor or from their obstetrician shortly after giving birth. It's also a good idea for a new father to update his vaccines, as well.”
To mark National Immunization Awareness Month in August, Valley Presbyterian Hospital experts are urging everyone to review their family’s immunization history to ensure all vaccinations have been received and are up to date. Community members are urged to check with their health professional if they are uncertain.
“It is critically important to stay current on all recommended immunizations,” said Pennington. “It can be easy to forget that there are serious, life-threatening infections that we still need to be protected against.”
To help parents identify vaccinations their children need, Valley Presbyterian Hospital is making available a Childhood and Adolescent Vaccination Schedule. This schedule is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Program recommendations of January 2010. The schedule includes vaccination recommendations for whooping cough (pertussis), as well as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), influenza, and Hepatitis A and B.
The CDC also offers a recommended Adult Immunization Schedule at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/adult-schedule.htm, as well as general information at www.cdc.gov/vaccines
“Any time there is a substantial increase in disease occurrence, there's cause for concern, especially, when it's causing children to be hospitalized,” said Infection Preventionist, Jerry Pennington.
Getting immunized is a lifelong, life-protecting community effort regardless of age, sex, race, ethnic background or country of origin. Recommended vaccinations begin soon after birth and continue throughout life. Being aware of the vaccines that are recommended for infants, children, adolescents, adults of all ages and seniors, and making sure that we receive these immunizations, are critical to protecting ourselves and our communities from disease.
MEDIA NOTE: The immunization schedule is available for reprint, with appropriate credit. VPH experts also are available for interviews on this issue. Please contact Janelle Hartley (818) 902-5709.