The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins the CDC and local public health agencies across Iowa in recognizing April 21 through 28 as National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW). The observance is held every year to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs.
"Vaccine-preventable diseases that were common 40 years ago are now rare due to the development of new vaccines and achievement of high immunization rates," said IDPH Immunization Program Manager Bethany Kintigh. "We can't rely on our past achievements and success, though. There are still pockets of unimmunized and under-immunized people who are susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases."
According to the CDC National Immunization Survey, 73 percent of Iowa 2-year-old children have received the recommended vaccines. This rate is achieved through the work of Iowa's health care providers and exemplified by Iowa's 2012 Childhood Immunization Champion, Dr. Stephen Rinderknecht. In conjunction with NIIW, CDC has established the Childhood Immunization Champion Award to recognize individuals who make a significant contribution to improve public health through their work in childhood immunization.
Dr. Rinderknecht, a pediatrician with Iowa Health Physicians & Clinics in Waukee, is a highly respected community leader on immunization issues. Dr. Rinderknecht is a frequent presenter at medical, nursing, and public health conferences in Iowa and serves as an advocate for immunization advancement through his active participation in vaccine research and clinical trials. Dr. Rinderknecht currently serves on the Immunization Task Force, the IDPH Immunization Advisory Board, and the IDPH Antibiotic Resistance Task Force.
For more information about IDPH's Immunization Program, visit www.idph.state.ia.us.