PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 21, 2017

Cathleen D. Bennett

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Recognizes National Infant Immunization Week

The Department and local health partners are promoting the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) with events across the state. NIIW, an annual observance highlighting the achievements of immunization programs and partners in promoting healthy communities, will be celebrated April 22 through 29.

“The best way to protect infants from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles, is to make sure they receive recommended immunizations,” Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett said. “This week serves as a reminder for parents to be sure their child is up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.”

New Jersey has reached the Healthy People 2020 target of 90 percent vaccinated for polio, MMR, hepatitis B and varicella vaccination coverage for children aged 19-35 months.

“Although most vaccine-preventable diseases are not common in the United States, they persist around the world,” Assistant Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan said. “It is important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines because outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and do still occur in this country.”

To protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends pregnant women receive the whooping cough vaccine for adolescents and adults (called Tdap vaccine) during each pregnancy. It is recommended pregnant women receive the shot between the 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. The Tdap vaccine helps protect babies before they are eligible to receive their first whooping shot vaccine at 2 months old. 

The impact of vaccine-preventable diseases was recently demonstrated by the rise in measles cases and outbreaks over the past few years. For example, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 667 cases from 27 states. This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

From January 1 to March 25 of this year, 28 people from 10 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington) were reported to have measles. NJ currently has two confirmed cases.

Additional information and resources can be found on the CDC’s website.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 4/21/2017