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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August 1, 2016
NIAM Banner August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which is a great opportunity to recognize the importance of vaccination. The National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, reminds us that safe and effective immunizations represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. Immunizations are important because they not only protect the person receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those that are most vulnerable to serious complications such as infants and young children, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. The purpose of NIAM is to celebrate the benefits of vaccination and to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages and stages of life: babies and young children, school-aged children, preteens and teens, adults, and pregnant women. Below are some CDC highlights on vaccines and immunization:

Babies and Young Children - Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly disease like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) before their second birthday.

View the CDC’s parent-friendly childhood immunization schedule here.

School-Aged Children – Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. In these settings, illnesses can easily spread. When children are not vaccinated, they are not only at increased risk for disease, but they can spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms and communities. States may require children to be vaccinated when entering child care, school, colleges and universities. Parents should check with their doctor, school or the local health department to learn about the requirements.

View the CDC’s parent-friendly immunization schedule for ages 7-18 here.

Preteens and Teens - As you get ready to send your preteens and teens back to school, make sure they are protected from deadly diseases by being up-to-date on their vaccines. Preteens and teens need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough) vaccine, quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, and a yearly flu vaccine. A booster dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine and a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine is recommended at 16 years old.

View the CDC’s parent-friendly immunization schedule for ages 7-18 here.

Adults – All adults - even healthy ones - should get vaccines to protect their health from serious illness which can then be passed on to others. In addition to yearly influenza (flu) vaccines, every adult should have one dose of Tdap vaccine if they didn’t as a teen and the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine every 10 years. The shingles vaccine is recommended for those 60 and older, as is the pneumococcal vaccines for those 65 and older. Other vaccines adults may need - like hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HPV - are determined by factors such as age, lifestyle, occupation, health conditions, locations of travel, and previous vaccines.

View the CDC’s adult schedule for recommended immunizations here.

Pregnant Women - Vaccines are an important component of a healthy pregnancy. Women should be up to date on their vaccines before becoming pregnant, and should receive vaccines against both the flu and whooping cough (pertussis) during pregnancy. These vaccines not only protect the mother by preventing illnesses and complications, but also pass on protection to her baby before birth. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as rubella, can lead to significant pregnancy complications, including birth defects.

View the CDC’s pregnancy immunization recommendations here.