National Immunization Awareness Month

immunizationAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month (#NIAM13).

The purpose of this observance is to highlight the importance of immunizations, one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th Century, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

While immunizations have significantly reduced the incidence of many serious infectious diseases, vaccination rates for some diseases are not meeting national public health goals. And we need to remind people that immunizations aren’t just for children. They are needed throughout our lifetime.

Vaccines are important for protecting children against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases

  • Immunizations create a shield of protection at school and at home.
  • Given recent outbreaks, it’s important that children be protected against dangerous and highly contagious diseases like pertussis (also called whooping cough).
  • Vaccines don’t just protect your child. Some diseases, like whooping cough, can be deadly for newborns or infants. You can help protect our littlest community members from being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases by making sure your own child is up to date.
  • Many parents have never witnessed the damaging effects of vaccine-preventable disease. As a result, they are not aware of the continued importance of getting all children vaccinated.
  • Diseases like measles and rubella are only a plane ride away. Measles epidemics are occurring in Great Britain, and rubella cases have skyrocketed in Japan.
  • Vaccines are among the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease. Protecting your child from preventable diseases will help keep them healthy and in school.
  • When a child comes down with disease such as whooping cough, chicken pox or the flu, he or she may miss a lot of school while recovering. Somebody will need to stay home to provide care and make trips to the doctor.
  • Schools are a prime venue for transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases, and school-age children can further spread disease to their families and others with whom they come in contact.

Getting vaccinated is an important action to take to protect yourself against serious and sometimes deadly diseases.

  • Vaccines are recommended for adults to prevent serious diseases such as influenza, shingles, pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria, hepatitis, meningitis and whooping cough.
  • Some vaccines prevent cancer. Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent liver cancer that can develop after developing chronic hepatitis B. The HPV vaccine can prevent cervical and other types of cancer caused by human papillomavirus.
  • Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications such as infants and young children, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
  • Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized and even die from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. Adults need vaccines, too.

  • The need for vaccination does not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, locations of travel, medical conditions and previous vaccination history.
  • Even healthy adults can get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • And as adults grow older, they may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases, due to their job, hobbies, travel or chronic health condition.
  • Far too few adults are receiving the recommended vaccines, leaving themselves and their loved ones unnecessarily vulnerable to serious diseases.



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