The week of April 24-30 is National Infant Immunization Week, and health services in southwest Florida are promoting the benefits of vaccinations for children from birth to two years old.

The Florida Department of Health says this annual focus on infant vaccination is an opportunity to teach parents, caregivers, and health care providers the importance of childhood vaccinations. It is also a call to action to ensure that all children are protected from birth from 14 serious childhood diseases.

In 2020, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a significant reduction in the number of vaccinations in children due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend remains low, which is why it is so important to follow your children’s routine checkups and recommended vaccine schedules.

Director of Pediatrics of the SWFL Health Network Dr. Salvatore Ansalone says it’s time to get back on track.

“Even I’ve seen patients come to our practice and I haven’t seen them in a year because they were too scared to come, so we’re catching up with them right now.” Dr. Anzalon explained.

Now is the time when we see such alarming signs as the recent increase in measles cases.

The World Health Organization reported that in the first two months of 2022, the number of cases increased by almost 80% compared to the same period last year.

Dr Anzalon said: “Because you are lagging behind vaccines, measles is usually the one that – because it is highly contagious – you start to see first. So, if you lag behind in measles, it means that you are probably lagging behind in many others. This suggests that there may be a breakdown in the immunization system. “

Breaking the chain means an increased risk of spreading other diseases that can be prevented by vaccines.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County’s Christine Hollingsworth said: “Chickenpox is one of those diseases that everyone says, ‘Well, I had it as a child, why does my son or daughter need this vaccine?’ but not only do you prevent chickenpox for your child, you also prevent shingles in an adult. ”

Dr Anzlon says the misinformation has caused hesitation in some parents. But he knows the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.

The Ministry of Health recommends that parents and caregivers contact their attending physician to schedule child vaccinations.

If you do not have a health care provider, parents can contact your local Office of the Florida Department of Health.

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