The importance of vaccination is being emphasized during National Infant Immunization Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives five reasons children should be immunized: vaccines save lives, protect those who cannot be vaccinated due to allergies or weak immune systems, are safe and effective, prevent absences from school and work, and protect future generations by eliminating preventable diseases. Dr. John Snyder of High Street Health Center Pediatrics at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts underscores the importance of vaccinating infants because they are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases, but pregnant women and other family members should be vaccinated as well to prevent the spread of disease to newborns too young for vaccines. “While we can be proud of the figure that in the United States fewer than 1 percent of our children go completely unvaccinated, there is an alarming trend of under-vaccination, particularly in certain communities where vaccine myths are more commonly believed,” says Snyder. “Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care providers, and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community.”
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