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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month LogoAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month! This year, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) has designated a specific population focus for each week:

August 3-9 — A Healthy Start: Babies and Pregnant Women

August 10-16 — Back to School: Children, Preteens & Teens

August 17-23 — Off to the Future: Young Adults

August 24-30 — Not Just for Kids: Adults

Immunizations are important for individuals of all ages. Often times there are concerns as to whether or not we should continue immunizing our children (and ourselves), however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains vaccinations are worthwhile:

It’s true, some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming very rare in the U.S. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. But it is still reasonable to ask whether it’s really worthwhile to keep vaccinating.

It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, “Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.” But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.

Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

For more information on vaccines and immunizations, visit the CDC website. On this page you’ll find topics such as Basic & Common Questions, information on Vaccine Side Effects & Safety, recommendations for parents, and immunization schedules for all populations.

To participate in National Immunization Awareness Month, download the toolkit from NPHIC and join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #NIAM14.

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