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National Infant Immunization Week is April 24-30

Dr. Gary Marshall

"Immunizations are one of the most successful public health interventions, ever."

Doctor Gary Marshall is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Louisville. He says about 75 percent of children are being immunized completely. But that number should be higher.

Dr. Marshall continues

"Parents need to understand immunizing their children is the equivalent of putting them in a car seat for a ride, or when they're older putting a helmet on them when they get on bicycles. It's a very important thing we do to protect children."

Eleven thousand children are born every day in the U.S. Marshall says for these babies to be spared 12 different diseases right away, they must complete their immunizations by age two, and get their shots on time.

Dr. Marshall again

"Many vaccines are designed to boost immunity by giving doses at certain intervals. If the intervals are violated, those may not be optimal anymore."

Marshall says the success of immunizations that have wiped out once common diseases could also lead some parents to think the threat of those diseases is over. That's not the case.

Dr. Marshall adds

"Vaccines are one of the few things we do in medicine to healthy people. When we give the right immunizations, nothing happens. If we don't give vaccines to children, these diseases we once lived in fear of will come back."

Marshall says new combination vaccines will be available soon to make it easier on a child.

Public health officials are also working on vaccines for rotavirus and pertussis, which was the only disease slightly on the rise.

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