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Catching Up on Vaccination During National Infant Immunization Week

Date: 4/14/2022 10:58 AM

Topic: Community Development

Tag: Immunization, Healthcare

Author: Joanna Levine


​Joanna Levine, Program Analyst, Public Health Foundation

​Vanessa Lamers, Assistant Director of Performance Management and Quality Improvement, Public Health Foundation

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance highlighting the importance of protecting infants and young children from vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2022, NIIW is observed from Sunday, April 24, through Saturday, April 30. Ensuring that every child receives their vaccinations in accordance with the Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule is a critical step in building their immunity before potential exposure to harmful diseases. Infants are more often hospitalized and at higher risk for complications and death from diseases such as Hepatitis B, Pertussis (whooping cough), Tetanus, Rotavirus, and Influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations, and 936,000 deaths will be prevented by vaccination over the lifetimes of children born between 1994 a​nd 2018*.

​​Infants should begin to receive vaccines immediately at birth to protect them from these vaccine-preventable diseases. Postponement of vaccinations has the potential to lead to poor outcomes for infants. When infants and young children fall behind on their routine vaccinations, there is an increased opportunity for diseases to re-emerge and cause outbreaks in communities.

Image for National Infant Immunization Week with text saying Power to Protect

NIIW is an opportunity for healthcare providers, public health professionals, and immunization partners to work with parents, caregivers, and communities to ensure families catch up and stay on track with children’s routine checkups and recommended vaccinations following disruptions from COVID-19. This is an opportunity to identify kids missing vaccines, talk to their parents, and schedule catch-up vaccines.

There are many resources available for health professionals to support catch-up for infant immunization during NIIW and beyond:

​​​​​​​​​​​NIIW Digital Media Toolkit
This toolkit is intended to help partners communicate with parents and caregivers the importance of children staying up-to-date on routine vaccinations. It includes key messaging, promotional materials, and educational resources providers can adapt and use to encourage parents to stay up-to-date on their child’s vaccinations.

Childhood Vaccination Toolkit for Clinicians

This toolkit includes a round-up of resources to help providers get kids caught up on recommended vaccines.

Image of a parent with her child in her lap, and a doctor listening to the child's heartbeat.

Child and Adolescent Vaccine Assessment Tool

This tool is a short seven-question quiz that providers should inform parents about for future use. This quiz will help to determine which vaccines a child may need.

Spanish Materials for Parents

This web page contains resources to share with Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers about vaccines for infants and children.

Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule

These up-to-date 2022 immunization schedules for ages 18 years or younger should be used by healthcare providers to make vaccination recommendations. Providers can determine necessary vaccinations based on age, appropriate intervals, medical conditions, special situations, and other indications.

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 14th Edition “The Pink Book”

This textbook provides physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals with the most comprehensive information on routinely used vaccines and the disease they present.

Talking with Parents About Vaccines for Infants

These materials can help healthcare professionals start or continue immunization conversations with parents, including providing guidance for structuring effective vaccine conversations and answering parent questions.

Childhood Immunization Resources

These resources can be used by immunization partners to promote childhood immunization in communities by stressing the importance and benefits of childhood vaccinations.

Vaccines for Children Program

The federally funded program, Vaccines For Children (VFC), provides vaccines at no cost to children whose families may experience an inability to pay.

Due to the pandemic, many children fell behind on their routine vaccines and well-child visits in 2020 and 2021. Healthcare providers and partners can use annual observances such as NIIW to improve protection of young kids from vaccine-preventable diseases.


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