The Erie County Department of Health is reminding parents to get their children vaccinated. The call is in observance of National Infant Immunization Week this week.
Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death.
“When parents make a decision not to immunize their child they not only put their child at risk for serious diseases, but they also put other members in the community,” said Burstein.
Recently, in the United States, there have been 129 reported cases of the measles. 29 of those were in New York State. Burstein says the disease has not shown up in western New York, but she says there’s always a risk if people aren’t vaccinated against it.
“Measles can cause very serious illness. It can cause very high fever and it can also cause inflammation of the brain and result in serious brain damage and unfortunately it could kill people,” said Burstein.
There are vaccines for 14 different diseases in the United States. Burstein says if everybody is immunized, there is less of a chance for others to contract any of the vaccine preventable diseases.
“There have been some false reports that have been published in the medical literature claiming that there’s a link between immunization, specifically MMR which protects against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, and Autism. This has since been proven not to be true. So, we hear more loudly about the noise of possible side effects to vaccines than about what the serious disease that vaccines actually protect us against,” said Burstein.
Burstein says if cost or lack of insurance is the reason parents are not vaccinating their children, she says the federal government has a program in place called ‘Vaccinations for Children’ or VFC to pay for the immunizations. For more information on vaccinations residents can contact the Erie County Department of Health at (716) 858-7690