PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
April 26, 2019

Shereef Elnahal

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

New Jersey Department of Health Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week

Immunization. Power to Protect.

The New Jersey Department of Health is highlighting the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases by celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) from April 27 to May 4, 2019. The Department encourages health care providers and local organizations to join in these statewide events to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating this medically fragile population. 

“Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “Vaccinating infants and children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended immunization schedule helps to protect them early in life, before they encounter potentially life-threatening diseases.”

Protecting children through vaccination begins before birth. Pregnant women should receive the flu and Tdap (whooping cough) vaccines during each pregnancy. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. This will help protect babies from whooping cough until they can receive their first whooping cough vaccine at two months.

Ensuring access to vaccinations is another important part of maintaining the public’s health. Through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, the Department provides vaccines to partners to immunize uninsured and underinsured children according to the recommended immunization schedule. In 2018, the New Jersey VFC program provided about 1.5 million doses of vaccines to providers throughout the state. This has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.

Immunization coverage estimates provides the Department with an approximate percentage of people in the state who have been vaccinated. New Jersey is near or above the Healthy People 2020 target of 90 percent of people vaccinated for polio; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); hepatitis B; and varicella vaccination for children 19-35 months.

  • 3 or more doses of polio (3+ Polio) - 92.5%
  • 1 or more doses of measles, mumps, rubella (1+ MMR) - 89.0%
  • 3 or more doses of hepatitis B (3+ Hep B) - 91.2%
  • 1 or more doses of varicella (1+ Var) - 90.8%

Despite these achievements, vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in the United States and around the world, so continued vaccination is crucial to protect everyone from potential outbreaks, especially those who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons.

“Both New Jersey and the U.S. have experienced measles outbreaks in recent months. As of April 19, there have been 626 cases of measles in 22 states, including 14 confirmed cases in New Jersey. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. We anticipate there will be continued opportunities for measles to spread as we continue through the spring travel season and into early summer. Please make sure you are vaccinated against measles and other diseases before traveling internationally.”

For more information about measles, contact your health care provider, or visit the New Jersey Department of Health website at https://nj.gov/health/cd/topics/measles.shtml.

Additional information and resources to prepare for NIIW can be found on the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/index.html.

Follow New Jersey Health Commissioner Elnahal on Twitter.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Last Reviewed: 4/26/2019