This is a community announcement provided by the Tompkins County Health Department. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements, email tips@ithacavoice.com.

ITHACA, N.Y. – National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is a reminder that children need vaccines right from the start. Immunization gives parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before they turn 2 years old.

To recognize the importance of immunizations from the start and throughout our lives, the Tompkins County Health Department and the Immunization Coalition of Tompkins County are joining with partners nationwide in recognizing April 21st-28th as National Infant Immunization Week. The theme for this week is “Power to Protect” and will focus on protecting babies and young children through immunization.

Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox. “Infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases,” says Melissa Gatch BSN, RN at Tompkins County Health Department. “Every dose of every vaccine is important to protect your child and others in the community. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional to make sure your child is up to date on all the vaccines he or she needs.”

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk and can spread diseases to others in their family and community, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated. Gatch notes that immunization is a shared responsibility. She says, “Families, health care providers and public health professionals must work together to help protect the entire community.”

Tompkins County Health Department offers immunization clinics every Friday for county residents.  Clinics are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment. Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule atwww.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents, visit us online at www.tompkinscounty.gov/health or call 607-274-6604. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TompkinsPublicHealth/.

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.