George Bush photo

Proclamation 6478—Child Health Day, 1992

September 26, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

On Child Health Day, we pause as a Nation to assess our children's state of health and to reaffirm our commitment to providing every young American with the best possible start in life, beginning with high quality prenatal care throughout pregnancy for expectant mothers and extending through each child's formative years.

When we examine history, one area of child health that has been marked by remarkable improvement is that of communicable childhood diseases. Over the years scientists and physicians have developed the means to protect children from diseases that, in the past, killed or disabled thousands of boys and girls. Through the practice of childhood immunization, the United States helped to lead the way in eliminating smallpox worldwide by 1980. Heartened by such progress, we aimed to rid the United States of another contagious and potentially devastating disease, measles, by 1990. Unfortunately, however, we remain short of that goal.

Despite the existence of effective childhood vaccines for measles and eight other contagious diseases, more than 50,000 cases of measles were reported in the United States from 1989 t 1991. Out of these cases, 160 persons died.

Such a traffic toll is all the more intolerable because it is preventable. Through a series of vaccinations beginning as early as birth, children can be protected against not only measles but also mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae Type B. While as many as 5 in 10 infants and toddlers are receiving all of their recommended childhood immunizations on time, thousands of other children remain at risk of contracting life-threatening or disabling illnesses.

To encourage parents fo fulfill their responsibility to have their children immunized and to expand access to vaccinations, the Department of Health and Human Services is moving forward with a concerted immunization initiative. Building on several local pilot programs that were developed in 1991, this initiative will increase the number of vaccinated preschoolers through education programs aimed at parents, through the integration of services, and through the enlistment of teachers, local health clinics, and other concerned individuals and organizations.

All of us who care aobut children -- especially parents and grandparents but also educators, public officials, and health care providers -- must renew our commitment to ensuring that every American preschooler is protected through age-appropriate immunizations. Doing so is vital to the well-being of our children and to the future of our Nation.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved May 18, 1928, as amended has called for the designation of the first Monday in October as "Child Health Day" and has requested that the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Americans to join me in renewing our commitment to protecting the lives of this Nation's youngest citizens.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6478—Child Health Day, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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