We’re kicking of National Infant Immunization Week this week and are excited to recognize the healthcare providers, public health workers, and parents who protect our babies and communities from preventable diseases through vaccination. Without these immunization champions, our Arizona communities would be at a much greater risk of infectious disease outbreaks.

Last week, we celebrated our own Arizona immunization champion, Dr. Tim Jacks, who spoke out nationally about the importance of vaccines. During the 2015 measles outbreak, both of Dr. Jacks’ children were exposed to measles and were at risk of infection. His son was too young to be vaccinated, and his daughter is battling leukemia, so was unable to be vaccinated. Dr. Jacks shared his story before Congress, explaining the importance of vaccines in protecting those of us who can’t be vaccinated, like his children, from dangerous and potentially deadly diseases.  Luckily neither of his children got sick with measles, but his story is a great reminder of the importance of community immunity.

Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death . They help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. In fact, CDC estimates that vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths among U.S. children born between 1994 and 2013. Giving babies recommended shots by age two protects them against 14 serious diseases.

We’re working closely with our local health departments, vaccine providers, and public health partners like The Arizona Partnership for Immunization to spread the word about the benefits of vaccination. All together now: Vaccines are good, disease is bad!