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Norwalk Health Department Stresses Importance of Vaccines

Recognizing National Infant Immunization Week

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Norwalk, CT | Added on April 20, 2015 At 06:00 PM

There are 14 vaccine-preventable diseases that can impact infants and children before the age of two. During National Infant Immunization Week, the Norwalk Health Department is doing their part to educate the community about the importance of immunization. 

"At this time of their life, they are vulnerable to many serious and dangerous diseases, so we want to protect them. The best way to protect them is to immunize them," said Pamela Bates, RN.

While parents may have concerns about injecting their small child with a strain of a disease, Pamela Bates, Immunization Plan Coordinator for the City of Norwalk says, "If they think about it as all the germs and bacteria and the viruses that these babies are exposed to on a daily basis, this is like a drop in the ocean."

In addition to offering routine childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles, polio and chickenpox, the Health Department also offers free whooping cough vaccine to people who care for infants.

"We act as sort of a stop gap for families who don't have phyicians or who can't get to their doctors offices and need their vaccines right away. We have a lot of people who are new to the community or have recently immigrated and they don't have a health care provider, so we are here to provide that piece so that people don't have to go without their vaccines," said Darleen Hoffler, Supervisor of Clinical Services at the Norwalk Health Department.

"Any family member that is going to be around a newborn should receive a Tdap vaccine, which protect from tetanus, diptheria and pertussiss, which is also known as whooping cough. Whooping cough is a serious illness for infants." said Megan Dimeglio, an outreach worker for the Immunization Action Program at the Norwalk Health Department. "They end up coughing a lot to the point where they can't breathe. They can end up with cracked ribs, vomitting and choking and they usually end up in the hospital."

"It's not going to protect them against everything, but these illnesses are very dangerous and can cause a lot of harm down the road, so we really want to make sure that children are protected against the most serious disease," said Bates.

A representative from the Health Department and the Immunization Action Program will be on hand at the Norwalk Health Department Monday & Wednesday providing information about the Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System (CIRTS), childhood vaccines, vaccine safety, and the whooping cough vaccine. 

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