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Press Release

Press Release # 028-08
Friday, April 25, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti:;
Sara Markt:
Celina De Leon:


April 19-26 is National Infant Immunization Week;

Recent NYC Measles Cases Linked to Outbreaks Overseas Highlight Importance of Vaccination

NEW YORK CITY – April 25, 2008 – The vaccination rate for young children has reached the highest level ever in NYC, and is higher than the national average, the Health Department announced today. As of mid-2007, 80% of kids aged 19 to 35 months (more than 140,000 children) had received all of their recommended shots, up 11% from 2006. Even as the number of recommended shots has grown in the past decade, rates of vaccination have continued to rise. New York City’s rate surpasses the national rate of 77.5%.

In observance of National Infant Immunization Week, the Health Department urges all New York City parents to protect their children by getting them fully immunized. The Department is pressing the message in public service announcements on local radio stations, including Hot 97, Kiss FM, and Spanish language stations WADO and La Kalle.

“Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way to prevent childhood diseases,” said Dr. Jane R. Zucker, Assistant Commissioner for the agency’s Bureau of Immunization. “The more children who are immunized on time, the more we can protect them from illness and death.” While the city’s immunization rate has increased, more progress is needed to reach the goal of 90% vaccination by 2010.

In the United States, immunization has largely eliminated diseases that once infected millions of children annually, killing thousands. The recommended vaccinations protect against 15 childhood diseases; children should receive vaccinations to protect against 9 of these diseases before the first birthday. An additional 3 vaccines, to protect against 5 diseases, are due when the child turns one year of age. (See table below). Vaccination is especially important in a global crossroad like New York City, because outbreaks are still common in many parts of the world. As of this week, 22 recent NYC measles cases have been linked to large outbreaks in Israel and Europe. The Health Department advises New Yorkers to make sure they’ve had their measles shots before traveling to Israel, Europe and other parts of the world. All children should receive their first measles shot at the age of one year, but babies aged six months to one year of age should get the measles shot early if they’re traveling internationally.

New York City’s boost in coverage is due in part to recent Health Department initiatives to help providers record and track immunizations online. Here are some immunization tips for parents, and a list of recommended childhood vaccinations.

  • Bring your child’s immunization card to every doctor visit, and ask to have it updated. This will help you stay on schedule for the child’s recommended vaccinations.
  • You do not need to start over if your child misses a vaccination. Make an appointment with your doctor to obtain vaccinations that are due. Compare your child’s immunization record to the chart below to see what they’re missing.
  • If you don’t know your child’s immunization status, call 311 and ask to be connected with the Citywide Immunization Registry. The registry will help you obtain a copy of your child’s record.
  • Low-cost or no-cost vaccinations are available. For more information, and to find out where your child can be vaccinated, call 311.

Recommended Childhood Vaccinations

Age for Vaccination


2 mos.

4 mos

6 mos,

12 mos.

15 mos.

4 yrs.

Hepatitis B (Hep B)


6-18 mos.




Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)



12-15 mos.

Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)



12-15 mos.


Polio (IPV)




6-18 mos.

Pneumococcal Disease (PCV)


12-15 mos.



Rotavirus (RV)


6-12 wks.

before or at 32 wks.




Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)






Varicella (Var)






Hepatitis A (HepA)





2 doses
12-23 mos.

The 2nd dose should be given 6 mos. after the 1st dose.





Yearly for all children 6 mos. – 18 yrs.






Children 2 yrs. and older in certain high-risk groups