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Suffolk County Urges Parents to Vaccinate Infants

In recognition of National Infant Immunization Week (April 23-30, 2011), the Suffolk County Department of Health Services is urging all parents to ensure that their infants and toddlers are fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said, “In addition to protecting our children from disease and the accompanying discomfort and sometimes serious complications, immunizations are among the most successful and cost-effective tools available for preventing disease and death. They help protect not only vaccinated individuals but also entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Immunizations also reduce the costs associated with missed time from work, doctor visits, and hospitalizations.”

Diseases for which immunizations are recommended include: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenza type B, varicella (chickenpox), pneumococcal disease, rotavirus and influenza.

“Because immunization has been successful in preventing disease in the United States, parents are often unaware that their children are at risk for so many life-threatening illnesses,” said Dr. James L. Tomarken, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. “We advise parents and guardians to safeguard their children’s health by making sure they receive the complete series of recommended immunizations.”

Residents who do not have health insurance or who have health insurance that does not pay for immunizations, are advised to ask their health-care providers about the Vaccines for Children program.  Funded by the CDC and New York State Department of Health, the program offers vaccines at low or no cost to eligible children.

Additional information and vaccination schedules may be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines or by calling the Suffolk County Department of Health Immunization Action Hotline weekdays at 853-8496.

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