JACKSON, Miss. - In recognition of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is offering free routine immunizations for infants and children through 18 years of age at all county health departments next week (April 23-27).
"Immunizations are essential to give infants and growing children a healthy start in life," said Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. "Statistics show dramatic declines in illnesses and deaths associated with vaccine-preventable diseases, thanks to appropriate immunizations. Immunizations are the best protection we can offer our children against these often deadly diseases."
This year, the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is required for children entering the seventh grade and will bring Mississippi in line with other states for adolescent immunization coverage.
"We are the 42nd state to implement this specific vaccination requirement," said Dr. Byers. "It's been a recommended vaccination for this age group since 2006. We still strongly recommend the Tdap vaccine for all adolescents, however it is only required for those entering seventh grade."
Also offered free during NIIW are the additional recommended vaccinations for preteens - those against meningococcal disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), and a second dose of varicella (chicken pox) vaccine for those who have not received one at an earlier age.
MSDH - along with the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians - recommends immunizations for infants and children from birth through 18 years of age for protection against childhood diseases.
Vaccinations in this promotion include protection for infants, children and adolescents against the following diseases:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Mississippians can visit any county health department during regular working hours for vaccinations. For more information or on recommended and required childhood vaccinations, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com or call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)