Every year in August, the U.S. celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month. Communities, states and the nation come together to hold activities and awareness events to increase public knowledge about the usefulness, safety and benefits of all of the different vaccinations. From routine childhood vaccination to annual flu shots, National Immunization Awareness Month aims to help improve the health of people of every age.
What Is the Purpose of National Immunization Awareness Month?
The mission of National Immunization Awareness Month is to educate and inform people about how vaccinations prevent serious illnesses and deaths in your family, community and around the world. The awareness campaign encourages all people to protect their health and reduce their risk of infectious diseases.
Why Are Vaccines Important?
Immunization helps people of all ages reduce their risk of serious, sometimes deadly infectious diseases. Getting vaccinated can also help prevent lost productivity due to illness, reduces costs to the healthcare system and government and helps reduce the overall disease burden in a population. Immunizations can also protect against complications from infectious diseases such as liver cancer that can result from hepatitis B infection or paralysis that may result from polio. In addition to protecting the members of your household, school, workplace and community, vaccinations also protect the overall public’s health, reducing the risk of disease outbreaks around the world.
Who Should Get Vaccines?
All members of a household should keep up to date on recommended vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a vaccine schedule for infants, children and adults. Adults who did not receive certain vaccinations as children, such as the series of hepatitis B shots, may consider getting vaccinated as a way to protect their own health and the health of their family members. Employment in certain occupations such as childcare and healthcare may also necessitate vaccines to protect your health and the health of those that you come into contact with. If you plan to travel to certain areas of the world where there are endemic diseases that are uncommon in North America, you may need additional vaccines to guard against illness. In addition to helping protect your long-term health, there are vaccines such as the annual flu shot that provide short-term protection against the flu. The flu can cause moderate to severe symptoms but can cause serious complications or death in the young, elderly, people who have compromised immune systems and in pregnant women.
How to Get the Vaccines You Need
You can receive any needed routine or travel vaccinations by visiting a Passport Health travel health specialist. You’ll receive a pre-travel health exam and an assessment of your immunization status. The travel health specialist will explain which vaccines are needed, based upon your destination and personal health status. You can also visit a Passport Health travel health specialist to get your annual flu shot and pneumonia shot. A travel health specialist can also advise you on other ways to protect your health such as what to travel supplies to pack and the use of sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
Centers for Disease Control: National Immunization Awareness Month
Healthfinder.gov: National Immunization Awareness Month
HealthyChildren.org National Immunization Awareness Month
Passport Health: Vaccinations