North Country health experts urge for routine vaccinations as National Infant Immunization Week closes out

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — As National Infant Immunization Week comes to a close on May 1, experts from Jefferson County Public Health are encouraging parents to get their children routinely vaccinated.

Jefferson County Prevent Nurse Tamie Reynolds stressed that the week of awareness has a longstanding message; protecting the health of infants and young children, a time when their health is most vulnerable.

With parental consent, when infants are just minutes old, they receive their first vaccination: Hepatitis B.

Reynolds stated that, in her opinion, the most important vaccinations children should receive are DTap, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Hepatits B and the Hib, Haemophilus influenzae type B, which prevents against influenzae type b infection.

Which all, she expressed, are more important now, than ever.

“We want to keep them healthy. So all the more reason why they need to stay up to date on those vaccines. We don’t want them vulnerable,” stated Reynolds. “We don’t want to see these [diseases] re-emerging in our community. We already have the issue with COVID. So it’s so important that they stay up to date.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics also is recommending children to continue to attend “well-child” appointments and receive vaccinations during the pandemic, especially as in-person learning reopens across the region.

According to the CDC, following the recommended immunization schedule is “even more urgent to help provide immunity against potentially life-threatening diseases.” This diseases include Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles and Tetanus.

Reynolds also shared that this process can be overwhelming, especially for first time parents. However there are many resources to help.

“I think it can be overwhelming. And that’s one thing we really try to do. When we give a vaccine, we give a lot of education on that and we give them the paperwork,” shared Reynolds. “It’s so important to research, know what your children are getting. If you don’t know what it is, ask questions. We are here to help.”

Jefferson County Public Health hosts vaccination clinics at its office every Wednesday. Parents and guardians are urged to call if they have any questions.

Additionally, the federally funded Vaccines for Children program provides assistance to uninsured and underinsured families by providing free vaccines to qualifying children.

The full 2021 immunization schedule for infants can be found on the CDC website.

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