County Health Departments offering free childhood immunizations this week

From the Mississippi Department of Health

JACKSON, MS - 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 this week (April 25-29).

"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."

Mississippi is currently the national leader – ranked No. 1 – in immunizations for children 19-35 months of age, according to 2009-2010 data released by the National Immunization Survey.

MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier said the toddler vaccinations aren't the only important ones for Mississippi children.

"We don't need to forget there are several vaccines recommended for adolescents as well. The Tdap, HPV, and meningococcal vaccines are all recommended for children 11-12 years of age or any adolescent who has not had been previously vaccinated," said Dr. Currier.

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.

Vaccines in this promotion include protection for infants, children and adolescents against the following diseases:

Varicella (chicken pox)
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Meningococcal
Measles HPV
Mumps Rotavirus

NIIW is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievement of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities.

Mississippians can visit any county health department during regular working hours for vaccinations. For more information or to view a list of recommended and required childhood vaccines, visit the MSDH website at or call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).