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National Immunization Awareness Month
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Immunizations and vaccine represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. This month, we celebrate the benefits of vaccines and highlight their importance for people of all ages.
One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is getting their child vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule. Whether parents have a baby starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccination records.
Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to disease outbreaks. Serious health consequences can arise if children are not vaccinated. Without vaccines, children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms and communities. This includes spreading diseases to babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
Vaccines are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Women should be up to date on their vaccinations before becoming pregnant. Pregnant women should get the pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, vaccine during pregnancy. They should also get the flu vaccine during pregnancy if they have not already received the flu vaccine for the current influenza season prior to pregnancy. These vaccines protect the mother and her baby by preventing illnesses and complications. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy also allows the mother to pass some protection on to her baby. Some women may need to receive certain vaccines after giving birth.
All adults should get recommended vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become ill and pass diseases on to others. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease). Vaccination is important because it protects the person getting the vaccine and 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).
All adults should get an influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu. Some people are at high risk of serious flu complications and it is especially important these people get vaccinated. This includes older adults (65 and older), children younger than 5, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevenetion Adult Vaccine Quiz to see what vaccines you may need.