LatinaLista -- Polio, diptheria, whooping cough, measles. The idea that children can contract and die from any of these diseases, and others, is a foreign concept to most adults today but there was a time when these diseases ravaged communities and families.
For that reason, immunizations were created to keep children from contracting these deadly diseases. Yet, when childhood deaths and disease are but distant memories or only footnotes in history, people forget the danger or the reason why those diseases disappeared.
Unfortunately, there is potential for these diseases to reappear. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about 20 percent of two-year-olds are not fully immunized.
Though the CDC's National Immunization Survey showed a 76 percent vaccine rate for all children in the United States, the lowest rates of vaccination exists among those children who live below the poverty line.
Also, more and more parents are doubting the safety of vaccines for their children. In a study released in March 2010 by the journal Pediatrics titled Parental Vaccine Safety Concerns in 2009, it was found that Hispanic (37%) parents were more likely than white (22%) or black (23%) parents to believe that vaccines cause autism in healthy children.
Overall, 11.5% of parents had refused at least 1 vaccine that their doctor had recommended for their child(ren). Of those who had refused a vaccine, HPV was the most commonly refused (56%), followed by varicella, meningococcal conjugate, and MMR.
To combat doubts of vaccines' effectiveness, the American Academy of Pediatrics is kicking off a campaign this week, which happens to be National Infant Immunization Week, called Protect Tomorrow.
The purpose of the campaign is simple -- remind people about the importance of immunizations. The campaign does this by effective public service announcements (PSA) where people share their personal stories of how they lost someone or were stricken with one of the diseases that now has a vaccine.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all believe that immunizations should be given to all children unless there are medical reasons not to do so. We care about your children and we care for your children." -- Dr. Margaret C Fisher, pediatric infectious disease specialist; Vice President Elect of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Chair of the Section of Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Protect Tomorrow PSA campaign: