To celebrate National Infant Immunization Week, officials at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have joined a blog relay to demonstrate how important vaccines are to protecting families, children and communities from diseases.
As part of recognizing this week, Marie-Elizabeth Ramas, the new physician member of the AAFP board of directors, discussed her travels to Cap-Haitien on a medical mission as a premed student 10 years ago.
“We forget that American children used to routinely die from diseases that now can be prevented by vaccines,” Ramas said. “However, this is not the reality in many countries.”
This week celebrates the many achievements that have been made in vaccination programs throughout the U.S. Thanks to the programs, many infants have been protected from harmful, vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Thankfully, we are in an era where terrible diseases like polio, Haemophilus influenzae type B and measles are no longer commonplace in our country,” Ramas said. “However, in California -- where I live -- there are many parents who still choose not to vaccinate their children despite overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of immunizations. As a result, we have witnessed the devastating effects of disease outbreaks.”
Because of her travels, Ramas emphasizes the importance of vaccines to her patients at her private practice.