UTICA — Oneida County officials are urging parents to vaccinate their children during National Infant Immunization Week, touting the benefits of vaccinations for a host of diseases from mumps and measles to the chicken pox.
The county operates public health clinics in both Rome and Utica through the Department of Health, where children and adults can be immunized and parents can receive immunization counseling and education.
The clinics see an average of 3,500 immunization visits per year. Immunization clinics are by appointment only; appointments may be made by calling (315) 798-5747.
The recommended immunization schedule can protect children from 14 serious and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday, according to county officials.
Most vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person.
A person who is immune to a disease because she has been vaccinated can’t get that disease and can’t spread it to others.
The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread, officials said, reducing the pain, suffering, and in some cases, the risk of death from preventable diseases.
“The number of vaccines recommended for babies may seem like a lot, but it is the best thing a parent can do for the health and safety of their child,” said Oneida County Director of Health Phyllis Ellis.
“When parents delay vaccinations or choose not to vaccinate, they leave their children vulnerable to many very serious diseases,” the county health director added.
The use of vaccinations has widely reduced and nearly eliminated previously deadly diseases like whooping cough, polio, rubella and measles, Ellis added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), routine childhood immunization among children born 1994-2018 will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses, 26.8 million hospitalizations, and 936,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.9 trillion in total societal costs.
“For their best protection, it is vital parents keep children on a timely immunization schedule from birth, and that we, in public service and public health, work to provide access to all for vaccine services,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said.