March 2021 Young Children Newsletter
Good morning fellow Kiwanians!
This month I will focus on the importance of immunizations for young children.
Measles killed an estimated 207,500 people last year worldwide after a decade-long failure to reach optimal vaccination coverage, resulting in the highest number of cases for 23 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a joint report November 2020.
Measles Cases in 2019
From January 1 to December 31, 2019, 1,282 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states. Of these cases, 128 were hospitalized and 61 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.
INCREASE IN WHOOPING COUGH (PERTUSSIS)
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.
Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.
The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated. During the 1980s pertussis reports began increasing gradually, and by 2018 more than 15,000 cases were reported.
WHY VACCINATE YOUNG CHILDREN?
Immunizations can save a child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, a child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Maternal neonatal tetanus deaths are greatly diminished due to the increase of the tetanus vaccine being made available through the world.
MNT ELIMINATE PROGRAM SPONSORED BY KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL IN PARTNERSHIP WITH UNICEF has saved hundreds of thousands of lives by providing vaccinations to women and young children.
Vaccination is very safe and effective.
Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
There is NO link between autism and childhood vaccines, a major new study finds. The systematic international review, first of its kind, conducted by University of Sydney researchers “No statistical data to support a link between vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and the development of autism or autism spectrum disorders.” (www.myasdf.org)
Immunization protects others
Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, there has been a resurgence of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States and about 10 to 20 babies, many of which were too young to be fully vaccinated, died each year. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that all who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects those who are vaccinated but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to others around them.
Immunizations can save time and money.
A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families.
Immunizations protect future generations
Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
National Infant Immunization Week(NIIW)
April 26 – May 3, 2021 (NIIW) was established to raise the profile of the infant immunization program in the United States.
Infant immunization protects people from vaccine-preventable diseases throughout their life.
NIIW is also a time to appreciate and celebrate the achievements immunization programs have had in promoting good health. Supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the first National Infant Immunization Week took place in 1994.
While aspects of the campaign may differ each year, the message behind this week is always, ‘Love Them. Protect Them. Immunize Them’ and parents are encouraged or reminded to have their children immunized by the age of 2.
For more information about National Infant Immunization Week, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
Consequences Of Not Immunizing Infants
If infants are not immunized the consequences can be severe. Disease often brings economic and social costs, misspent time and resources visiting doctors, hospitalizations and poor child and educational development. These consequences are in addition to any of the direct physical symptoms and problems associated with a given condition. Also in some cases a disease can be fatal.
WHAT CAN KIWANIANS DO TO HELP?
Spread the word to friends and family about the importance of vaccinations.
To get materials go to www.cdcp.gov
Materials to Share (Resources to share with the public)
To view easy-to-read immunization schedules, an immunization tracker, videos, listicles, infographics, fact sheets, PSAs, print ads, and posters, go to Vaccine Resources for Parents.
Share these materials with your audiences by:
- Linking to them from your website
- Sharing them via your social media channels
Kiwanians can make a difference in a child’s well-being if we take the time to share this important information
Ava Adams, District Chair,
New England & Bermuda District