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Don’t Wait: August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Don’t Wait: August is National Immunization Awareness Month

It can be difficult to know which vaccines are needed at what ages, and separating facts from misinformation is challenging. This is especially true when vaccination is on the mind of parents who are getting ready to send their children back to school. That’s one reason why the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes vaccine awareness during National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) every August.

Learning the facts before making vaccination decisions for your children and yourself is very important. Here are some facts and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about immunization for children and adults.

Why get vaccinated?

Immunity is the body’s way of preventing disease. When your baby is born, their immune system is not fully developed, which can put them at greater risk for infections. Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease.

For children:

  • Your child is exposed to thousands of germs every day when they eat, breath and put things in their mouth.
  • Babies are born with immune systems that can fight most germs, but there are some deadly diseases they can’t handle. That’s why they need vaccines to strengthen their immune system.
  • Most vaccines use very small amounts of antigens to help your child’s immune system recognize and learn to fight serious diseases. Antigens are parts of germs that cause the body’s immune system to go to work.

Of course, vaccines aren’t only for children:

  • All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases that can result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.
  • All adults need a seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine every year. A flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
  • Every adult should get a Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) or Tdap booster shot every 10 years. In addition, women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is readily available across our community. Learn more about the vaccine, how to receive it, and more by visiting our COVID-19 resource page.
  • The Pneumococcal vaccine (PPSV23) is recommended for adults 65 years or older. The vaccine has been proven to provide protection against pneumococcal infections.
  • The Shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years or older. Your risk of getting shingles increases as you get older.

Think of it this way: Getting a disease or getting a vaccine both give you some protection from getting the disease in the future. The difference is that with the disease you have to get sick to get that protection. With the vaccine you don’t.

Vaccines are safe and effective

Vaccines prevent infectious diseases that once killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough.

It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.

  • Vaccination is a highly effective, safe and easy way to help keep your family healthy.
  • On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
  • Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.

CDC Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) explain both the benefits and risks of a vaccine. VISs are available for each vaccine.

Resources

Valley Health Primary Care and Family Medicine providers are an excellent source of information about vaccination. Many Valley Health locations offer routine immunizations, in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine. You can learn more by visiting valleyhealthlink.com.

Recommended immunization schedules for children and adults can become confusing. The CDC provides detailed tables to help you navigate your questions. As always, it is best talk to your provider about vaccination timing.

Pneumococcal Vaccination | CDC

Shingles Vaccination | CDC