March 19, 1998
GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY ANNOUNCE PLAN TO SEND GREETINGS REMINDING ILLINOIS PARENTS TO IMMUNIZE THEIR INFANTS
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. Governor Jim Edgar and First Lady Brenda Edgar today announced a partnership with Hallmark Cards Inc. to send new Illinois parents congratulatory greeting cards with a personalized message about the importance of immunizing children by age 2.
"Ensuring that children receive the recommended immunizations by age 2 is the best way to offer them a life free from the effects of serious, yet preventable diseases," the Governor said. "Brenda and I hope this additional effort will provide just one more reminder to parents that their child is counting on them to get all their shots on time."
The immunization rate in Illinois for children 2 years old and younger is 79 percent, according to the most recent survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national goal is to achieve a 90 percent immunization rate for 2-year-olds by the year 2000.
"Too many children suffer unnecessarily from diseases like polio, measles, mumps and pertussis, which can be prevented through immunizations with just five visits to a doctor or clinic before age 2," Mrs. Edgar said. "This partnership with Hallmark Cards adds another tool for us to help parents help their children grow up happy, healthy and safe."
The greeting cards, donated by Hallmark Cards Inc., will be mailed beginning this month to parents as their children turn 2 months old. The first parents to receive the cards will be those who had children in December 1997 and January 1998.
The card includes a detachable immunization records, a copy of the recommended vaccinations for children 2 years old and younger, information on where to receive free or low- cost immunizations by calling the Help Me Grow toll-free helpline, 1-800-323-GROW, and the message from the Edgars.
The Edgars message reads: Congratulations! Every Illinois child is precious to us. Please, remember that your baby needs to begin his or her shots by 2 months of age.
About 185,000 babies are born in Illinois each year. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Human Services will coordinate the mailing and distribution of the cards.
"Our thanks to Hallmark Cards for making this commitment to the children of Illinois," Edgar said. "The company's generous donation is an example of how public and private sectors are working together for the betterment of their communities."
Hallmark Cards launched the For America's Babies Campaign to help states achieve their immunization goals. To date, 33 states and U.S. territories participate in the greeting card campaign.
"The birth of a child is a joyous events," said Karen Bartz, community development manager for Hallmark Cards. "Hallmark is pleased to help parents celebrate that event and to be part of this partnership to improve the health of our nation's children."
Immunization recommendations by age 2 include four doses of DPT (diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough and tetanus), four doses of Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B), three doses of OPV (oral polio vaccine), three doses of hepatitis B, one dose of varicella and one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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