SOURCE: March of Dimes California Chapter

March of Dimes California Chapter

July 16, 2015 13:00 ET

For Back-to-School Season, March of Dimes Reminds Parents That Vaccines Are Crucial for Preventing Disease Outbreaks

Children Should Be Vaccinated to Protect Themselves & Others From Serious Disease

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - July 16, 2015) - Last winter's multi-state outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland illustrates the crucial role of vaccines in preventing infectious diseases. The California outbreak sickened more than 170 people, most of whom were unvaccinated.1

Measles can be a serious disease. One or two out of every 1,000 children who come down with it will die.2 Infected pregnant women are at risk of delivering a premature, low birth weight baby. Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. However, outbreaks continue to occur due to non-vaccination. This drives home the basic fact that vaccines are the most effective means of preventing infectious diseases and the best way to ensure that disabling and fatal diseases of the past don't make a comeback in our country, experts say.

The March of Dimes fully supports school immunization requirements and advocates against non-medical exemptions to vaccination. More information on childhood vaccines, including a recommended schedule of vaccinations, is available from the March of Dimes web site:

The best way to protect your child and your family from measles is to make sure your child receives the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine on schedule. They should receive their first dose on or soon after their first birthday (at 12 to 15 months).

All children who are medically able to should receive vaccines to protect their health and to prevent the spread of infections to others, especially the most vulnerable, such as pregnant women and babies. The more children who are fully immunized, the less risk of exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases.

The March of Dimes has a long history of supporting vaccines. The organization was founded in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, himself a polio survivor, to combat polio. At the time, polio was an epidemic disease that paralyzed or killed up to 52,000 Americans, mostly children, every year.3 The March of Dimes funded the development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955, followed by the oral vaccine developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in 1962. Nearly every baby born today receives a lifesaving polio vaccine.

In 1969-1970, the March of Dimes led a nationwide immunization campaign against rubella (German measles), which can cause a range of serious birth defects or fetal death if women contract it during pregnancy. The campaign was highly successful, and congenital rubella syndrome was declared eliminated in the United States in 2004. However, since then, a few imported cases have been reported, so vaccination remains crucial. In 2008, the March of Dimes became a founding member of the Immunization Alliance, a consortium of medical, public health, and parent organizations.

Since 2009, the March of Dimes has been working with Sanofi Pasteur to help inform the public about the burden of infectious disease and the value of vaccines through two unique campaigns: Sounds of Pertussis® and Word of Mom: Celebrating Generations of Healthy Advice. For more information, visit

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and information, visit or We're on Facebook and Twitter. #VaccinesWork

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Measles (Rubeola). Measles Cases and Outbreaks. Accessed April 22, 2015.
2 CDC. Measles Outbreak: Protect Your Child with MMR Vaccine. Accessed April 22, 2015.
3 CDC. Vaccines and Immunizations. Polio Disease - Questions and Answers. Accessed April 22, 2015.

Attachment Available:
Attachment Available:

Contact Information