* two to three doses of influenza vaccine for children 6 months and older, with the number of doses depending on the child's birthday.
"Babies are born with a blank slate," Brown said. "They don't have any immunity. They see a germ coming, and they don't know what to do.
"When you get sick, your body mounts antibodies. So, going forward, you don't get that type of sickness again. That's why adults don't get sick as often -- because they've already come in contact with a lot of those sicknesses as a child."
With vaccines, the body receives not the actual infection but a calling card of sorts, she said. The body then mounts an immune response to that germ so that if it does see the germ, the defense is already in a position to fend it off.
While minor side effects are sometimes associated with the vaccinations, speakers at the immunization event said small "trendy" groups combat the idea of being pro-vaccination.
"We have a small but vocal anti-immunization group in West Virginia," said Elaine Darling, the program manager for the West Virginia Immunization Network.
The subject can be very polarizing, Brown added, saying parents who are pro-vaccine might be hesitant to speak up in conversations in a play group.
"Vaccines are a medication," she said. "Not all are 100 percent effective and risk free. Children could have an allergic reaction. The risks are very small.
"Yes, you could have a fever, sore arm or feel crummy for a day or two. Fewer than one in a million people have an allergic reaction.
"But you have to make an informed decision -- that risk from the vaccine compared to the benefit of being vaccinated. Imagine having one of those diseases. Sometimes, people's risk perception is distorted."
The state requires vaccinations for public school entry unless a child has a medical exemption. Some states also grant philosophical or religious exemptions for medications.
"The vaccinations are almost 100 percent effective in preventing severe disease," Brown said. "It's a win-win situation. Even if it doesn't protect 100 percent, it protects from the disease being serious."
Darling said it's also important for parents to be up to date on immunizations, as they often pass diseases to children.
"I have a 6 month old, and he's about to complete some of the vaccinations in a series. At 2 months, they're not fully protected, so it's really important for my husband and I to make sure we can't pass disease onto him," she said.
Brown referred to this as cocooning -- parents trying to keep the world around the child safe. Seventy percent of infants who contract whooping cough received it from a household member, she said.
"People who are in health care see these diseases that can be prevented by vaccines," she said. "Not everybody has seen a child without vaccines -- gotten sick and died. People in the general public don't see them. They have concerns about vaccine risks, as opposed to the diseases."
Brown said education is the most important part of the observation week.
Kim Estep of Lewisburg, who has served as co-chairwoman of the network, was recently named a Childhood Immunization Champion because of her efforts to promote childhood immunization.
For more information on vaccinations, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/.