National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 21-28, 2018, is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the important role that local health departments (LHDs) play in keeping their communities safe from disease outbreaks through surveillance, education, and administration of childhood vaccines. During NIIW, CDC encourages LHDs to educate parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in their communities about the importance of on-time vaccination of children under 2 years old. To get involved during NIIW 2018, check out these planning resources and be sure to share your planned NIIW activities with the CDC.
LHDs can also highlight gaps in local immunization rates and promote local immunization champions, such as the healthcare professionals, parent advocates, and communication specialists honored by CDC’s Childhood Immunization Award program.
Each year, CDC creates a robust toolkit to help LHDs participate in NIIW. Please note that the 2018 toolkit is not yet available, but will be released in the next couple of weeks and NACCHO will provide an updated link. In the meantime, you can check out some of last year’s materials for inspiration and planning purposes:
- Post an NIIW banner or button on your website.
- Promote positive messages about infant immunization through your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can find pre-written content here. Use #NIIW to participate in the discussion online.
- Write a news release, op-ed piece or letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You can find templates in the NIIW Media Relations Toolkit.
- Establish an immunization education center in your office, at a local library, major worksites, or other walk-in locations. You can find free educational materials to download and print on CDC’s website.
- Present about NIIW at an already-scheduled meeting of employers, religious leaders, or media representatives, and ask them to get involved with your activities.
- Prepare and distribute newsletter articles for employers, neighborhood associations, utility companies, or other organizations with newsletters.
- Tell healthcare professionals in your community about CDC’s resources on how to communicate effectively with parents about childhood immunization. These resources were developed together by CDC, The American Academy of Pediatricians and The American Academy of Family Physicians.
CDC highly values the NIIW events that LHDs, coalitions and others implement at the community level. Please let them know about your NIIW activities by filling out this short form. With your permission, these activities will be posted on the NIIW website. Thank you for your support of this important national observance. By working together, LHDs, states and the federal government have the power to keep our nation’s children healthy through on-time immunizations.