March of Dimes Reminds Parents to Immunize Children for the New School Year
Women and Pregnant Moms Need Annual Flu Shot Themselves, , July 25, 2013
Influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles are just a few of the infectious diseases still plaguing babies and adults in parts of the United States today. But fortunately, these are preventable by vaccines, the March of Dimes says, as it celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and its ongoing work to help all babies get a healthy start in life. More than four million babies were born last year in the United States and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one of them through research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
“Immunizations are as important today as they were in the 1950s when the March of Dimes delivered the first vaccines against polio,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Back-to-school season is a perfect time to make sure that immunization records are up to date and the health of children is protected.”
The March of Dimes, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and eight other agencies, urges all pregnant women to get their annual flu shot in the fall. The normal biological changes of pregnancy put pregnant women at increased risk of the harmful effects of flu infection. Recent research suggests that the flu vaccine may also lower a woman’s risk of having a stillbirth or miscarriage.
Check with your child’s healthcare provider or the New Jersey Department of Health website for age appropriate vaccinations http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/age_vac.pdf. Your child’s daycare or preschool may have additional requirements.
Celebrating 75 Years of Life-Saving Vaccines
The March of Dimes was founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to combat polio, an epidemic disease that paralyzed or killed up to 52,000 Americans, mostly children, every year. The March of Dimes fulfilled President Roosevelt’s dream of a nation free of this fearful disease by funding the development of the first safe and effective polio vaccines by Dr. Jonas Salk (1955) and Dr. Albert Sabin (1962).
Following the successful development of the polio vaccines, the March of Dimes supported many other important immunization campaigns. For example, in 1969-1970, Dr. Virginia Apgar worked with the March of Dimes to lead a national immunization program against rubella (German measles), which can cause a range of serious birth defects if contracted during pregnancy. The campaign was so successful that there has not been a case of congenital rubella syndrome in the U.S. in more than 30 years.
Today, the March of Dimes and Sanofi-Pasteur are partners in the “Sounds of Pertussis” campaign urging parents, grandparents, other relatives and caregivers to get a booster shot for pertussis (whooping cough), a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease in babies, so they won’t unknowingly infect the newborns in their lives. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that America is currently experiencing the largest outbreak of reported pertussis cases in 50 years. The pertussis vaccine is reported to have saved more than a half a million lives in 2002 alone. For more information, visit soundsofpertussis.com.
As always, the March of Dimes encourages parents to ensure that their children get all their vaccinations on schedule. More information is available from the March of Dimes web site: http://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/wellbabycare_vaccinations.html.
The March of Dimes continues to fund vaccine research and to work with international coalitions seeking to improve immunization rates and eradicate preventable diseases so they will never again threaten babies and children.
This year, the March of Dimes, the leading non-profit organization for maternal and infant health, celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to help all babies get a healthy start in life. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.