As part of National Infant Immunization Week (April 19-26), parents, caregivers and health providers are being reminded of the benefits of vaccination and the importance of routine childhood vaccination.
"A substantial number of children in the United States still aren't adequately protected from vaccine-preventable diseases," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a prepared statement.
"The suffering or death of even one child from a vaccine-preventable disease is an unnecessary human tragedy. Let us renew our efforts to ensure that no child, adolescent or adult will have to needlessly suffer from a vaccine-preventable disease," she said.
Schuchat said there are vaccines to protect children against 15 diseases before the age of 2, yet more than 20 percent of 2-year-olds in the United States aren't fully immunized against infectious diseases to which they're especially vulnerable.
While vaccinating infants is especially important because they're more vulnerable to many diseases than older children and adults, "it's important for adults to also be vaccinated to keep themselves healthy and to keep from spreading infections to vulnerable people, including children," Schuchat said.