The month of August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) for good reason, with students getting ready to go back to school, and the upcoming flu season fast approaching.
The availability of immunizations against serious and potentially deadly viruses and diseases was one of the most significant advancements in twentieth century healthcare, and new vaccines continue to become available as twenty-first century technology continues to race forward. Not only have vaccines virtually eliminated smallpox and wild poliovirus, but they have also reduced the spread of measles and chickenpox, as well as other diseases.
The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations, and to reach the thousands of people in the U.S. 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.
The National Health Information Center recommends that vaccinations begin soon after birth and continue throughout life. To ward off preventable diseases, the department stresses the importance of people to getting the appropriate vaccines in the proper doses, and at the recommended time. To help parents understand what vaccines their children need as they prepare for another school year, HealthNews is running a special five-part series on immunizations this month.
The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) also strongly urges the promotion of immunization awareness to encourage greater acceptance and use of immunization not just for babies, but for people of all ages.
Although many tried and true vaccines have been around for years, new breakthroughs in immunizations continue to develop. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issues an annual update of vaccination guidelines, which includes the importance of teens being immunized against many common illnesses, including pneumonia, meningitis and influenza.
Vaccinations are not just for the young – See Page 2