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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 21, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Marks National Infant Immunization Week April 22-29


Health agencies, community groups and local officials across New Jersey are marking National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) April 22-29 with special events to immunize children and to highlight the importance of vaccinating every child by age two.

          “Immunization is one of the most important tools parents have to protect their children from serious, preventable diseases,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. 

“These diseases are a constant threat – as the current mumps outbreak in the Midwest clearly reminds us.  To protect children and communities from 13 preventable diseases, we must be vigilant and vaccinate every child on time,” he added.   Influenza vaccine is now among the recommended vaccines for young children, he noted.

          New Jersey’s local health departments and other groups are sponsoring a range of NIIW activities statewide.  These include free immunizations, extended clinic hours, health expos and educational programs.

A list of local events is available on the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) web site at

          National Infant Immunization Week, sponsored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is being held in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization’s Vaccination Week in the Americas.  The goal is to promote immunization in the Western Hemisphere.

Childhood immunization coverage levels in the U.S. are at the highest levels recorded for most vaccines.  However, about one million of the nation’s children are still not fully immunized.  In addition, more than a million people a day cross international borders, increasing the potential for disease spread.

Immunizing a child protects not only that child, but entire communities by reducing the spread of disease to those who have not been vaccinated for medical or other reasons.

In New Jersey, the DHSS Vaccine Preventable Disease Program has been working to improve the state’s childhood immunization rate.  Currently, about 83 percent of New Jersey children are properly immunized by age two, compared with 80 percent of children nationally.

The department distributes more than one million doses of vaccine to more than 2,500 physicians participating in the federally funded Vaccines for Children program.  Through the program, free vaccine is available to infants and children whose families are uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid or FamilyCare.  Free vaccine is also available to Native Americans and Alaskan natives.

New Jersey is continuing its work to expand health care provider participation in the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS), a statewide web-based immunization registry.   The registry helps providers track children’s immunization status and remind parents when shots are due.

Once trained, providers find that the registry system is easy to use, saves time, and allows them to share needed immunization information with others.  The registry also has been enhanced to allow providers to download an official childhood immunization record directly from the NJIIS site.

In addition, the Vaccine Preventable  Disease Program has been involved in promoting and supporting new partnerships with community based initiatives, statewide coalitions, and provider education activities to ensure more children are immunized on time, every time.

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