Indiana at center of new national push to get children vaccinated

A nationwide effort is underway to increase the number of children getting immunizations.

Indiana is the launch site for the initiative that comes during National Infant Immunization Week. 

Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and the Surgeon General's office launched the Hallmark 'For America's Babies' initiative at IU Health in Avon Wednesday morning.

As part of the initiative, starting today, parents of newborns in Indiana will receive a card from the State Health Commissioner with a schedule of immunizations to act as a reminder. Vaccinations begin when a child is two months old. There are 14 required vaccinations by the age of two years.

"Getting those vaccinations on time is crucial," said Dr. William VanNess , the state's health commissioner. "Kids can still die from some of these diseases."

Confusion and cost are the main reasons many parents delay. According to Dr. VanNess, "Part of it is there are so many vaccinations to there is a lot to keep track of."

The state hopes the reminder card will help. There is also a website where parents can log the vaccinations. Keeping track is voluntary now, but will be mandatory by the state in July 2015.

As for cost, there are federal programs that, if parents qualify, they can get free immunizations. "Getting your vaccine is one of the most important ways to prevent illness," adds Doctor VanNess.

Learn more about Infant Immunization Week and the new initiative.