NIAW: Week Two

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2 years old.

  • Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) before their second birthday.
  • Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of (1) getting the disease or illness and (2) having a severe case of the disease or illness. You can’t predict or know in advance if an unvaccinated child will get a vaccine-preventable disease, nor can you predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.
  • Vaccines don’t just protect your child. Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community – especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.


Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines and vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule.

  • Estimates from a CDC nationally representative childhood vaccine communications poll (August 2016 online poll) suggest that almost 9 out of 10 people vaccinate according to schedule or are intending to do so.


It’s easy to think of these as diseases of the past. Most young parents in the United States have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like measles or whooping cough can have on a family or community. But the truth is they still exist.

  • Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in many parts of the world. For example, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries. When measles gets into communities of unvaccinated people in the United States (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to occur.
    • The 2015 measles outbreak and the current measles outbreak in Minnesota are examples of how quickly infectious diseases can spread when they reach groups of people who aren’t vaccinated.
    • Since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 667 people from 27 states in 2014. From January 1 to May 20 2017, 100 people from 11 states were reported to have measles.
  • Outbreaks of whooping cough have also occurred in the United States over the past few years. There are many factors contributing to the recent increase in whooping cough, but getting vaccinated is the best way to help prevent whooping cough and its complications.


Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. Following the recommended schedule offers the best protection.

  • Vaccines offer the best protection against many devastating illnesses. Following the recommended immunization schedule is the best way to ensure your children are protected from deadly diseases.
  • Some vaccines require multiple doses to build enough immunity to prevent disease, boost immunity that has faded over time, ensure people who did not get immunity from a first dose are protected, or protect against diseases, like the flu, which can change from one season to the next.
  • Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. We do know that delaying vaccines puts children at known risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable diseases. Infants and young children who follow immunization schedules that spread out shots – or leave out shots – are at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed.
  • If a young child falls behind the recommended schedule, parents and health care professionals should use the catch-up immunization schedule to quickly get the child up to date, reducing the amount of time the child is left vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.