OKLAHOMA CITY – National Infant Immunization Week will be observed April 24-30 to emphasize the importance of protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination will prevent an estimated 419 million illnesses for children born during 1994-2018 over their lifetimes.

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, a nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, aims to help families stay on track for their child’s recommended vaccinations.

“Giving babies their routine vaccinations is the best way to protect them from 14 serious illnesses, including whooping cough and measles,” said Janice Hixson, MD, OKCIC’s chief medical officer. “It’s important to follow the recommended immunization schedule because it’s carefully designed to provide protection before your child is exposed to dangerous diseases.”

Getting a shot can make a child feel anxious, but there are ways you can offer support. Pack your child’s favorite toy, book or blanket and distract them by cuddling, singing or telling a story. If possible, hold your child firmly on your lap. A comforting hold prevents children from moving their arms and legs during injections and allows the provider steady control of the injection site.

After the vaccination, be especially supportive and offer praise and hugs to reassure your child that everything is okay. Use a cool, damp cloth to alleviate any soreness at the injection site. Don’t forget to schedule your next visit. 

“Sometimes children get sick before their scheduled vaccination,” Hixson said. “Children can still get vaccinated, even if they have a fever or mild illness. If in doubt, call your provider to determine which vaccines your child can get.”

If you’re curious about what vaccinations your child needs, call your provider. OKCIC patients can schedule well-child visits and routine vaccinations with our Harmon-y Pediatric Clinic at 405-948-4900 extension 633 or 635. 

Infants and young children are vulnerable to dangerous diseases, and vaccinations offer the best protection.