With students getting ready to go back to school, and the upcoming flu season fast approaching, August marks the annual observance of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM).
The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations, and to reach the thousands of people in the U.S. and the hundreds of thousands around the world who go unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases that claim the lives of countless people each year. It has been proven that the best defense against contracting common viruses and diseases is for both children and adults to be immunized. In addition, a healthier population reduces healthcare costs, and results in fewer missed work and school days.
5 Key Reasons to Support Immunization Programs:
1. Immunization Saves Lives
Immunization saves more than 3 million lives worldwide each year, and it saves millions more from suffering illness and lifelong disability.
2. Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Still Pose a Risk
Due to effective vaccination programs, most people in industrialized countries have never experienced the devastation of vaccine-preventable diseases. Many people believe that these diseases no longer pose a threat, as they are not as visible as they once were. In fact, some consider the vaccine to be more dangerous than the disease.
3. Diseases Can Be Controlled and Eliminated
With sustained high vaccination coverage, the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases declines. High quality surveillance is required to monitor disease trends and progress towards control and elimination goals.
4. Immunization is Cost-Effective
Immunization is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective public health achievements of modern times. It costs very little, but offers huge benefits for the health and well-being of populations.
5. Every Child Needs to Be Vaccinated
It is believed that community immunity can only occur if about 95 percent of people are vaccinated – and every person who is not vaccinated increases the chance that they and others will come down with the disease in question.
Below is some helpful information on immunizations from the CDC to share with all of your patients, young and old.
The CDC recommends that children receive vaccines against chickenpox, diphtheria, hepatitis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus and others.
Adolescents should receive vaccines against diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, meningococcal disease, pertussis, meningitis, tetanus, whooping cough and any other missed vaccinations. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/products/index.html
Doctors recommend girls also get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer.
If children do not have health insurance, or are only partially insured, parents should ask their healthcare provider or local health department about assistance to pay for vaccines.
Adult vaccines include diphtheria, influenza, pneumococcal, shingles (herpes zoster) pertussis and tetanus. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/adults.htm
- All adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years.
- Adults age 65 need a one-time pneumonia shot.
For more information on National Immunization Awareness Month and how you can help support the efforts, visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam/default.htm