National Immunization Month is in August. It is also the beginning of back-to-school preparations, and a good time to make sure your children are properly vaccinated before they head back to school. Shots, or vaccines, help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. Vaccines are not just for kids – adults need to get vaccinated to stay protected from serious illnesses too, especially, the flu, measles, and pneumonia.

The Centers for Disease Control says National Immunization Month was founded by the National Public Health Information Coalition “to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.”

There is no one preventive health measure more important than immunization. As the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, the international medical community has endorsed the use of vaccines and immunization to prevent and control a number of infectious diseases, as well as chronic diseases caused by “infectious agents.” Vaccinating your child can avoid suffering and death associated with afflictions like diarrhea, measles, pneumonia, polio and whooping cough. The American Academy of Pediatrics says vaccines are 99% effective. Every vaccine goes through a series of tests before being approved to ensure safety. Vaccines are necessary to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Some diseases that many had thought eradicated have reappeared, as polio did in Venezuela in 2018. Vaccines are studied intensively by the FDA, the CDC and many other organizations that vigilantly in keep watch over existing vaccines for possible complications.

Herd immunity is when a certain percent of immunized people in a community reaches a level where everyone, including those who are too young or too sick to be immunized, get some degree of protection. It is important that as many people as possible get immunized. It is very risky to the health of other children to rely on group immunity to protect a non-immunized child. By forgetting or choosing to skip promoted vaccinations, people undercutting the effectiveness of community’s immunity for both the own family and the community at large.

The increase in life expectancy during the 20th century is largely due to improvements in child survival. This increase is associated with reductions in infectious disease mortality, due largely to immunization. However, infectious diseases remain a major cause of illness, disability, and death in the world. Immunization recommendations in

the United States currently target seventeen vaccine-preventable diseases across the lifespan.

The 2020 goal for immunization and infectious diseases is rooted in evidence-based clinical and community activities and services for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Objectives focus on technological advancements and ensuring that States, local public health departments, and non-governmental organizations are strong partners in the Nation’s attempt to control the spread of infectious diseases. Despite progress, approximately 42,000 adults and 300 children in the United States die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Communities with pockets of unvaccinated and under vaccinated populations are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2018, imported measles resulted in 140 reported cases, nearly a 3-fold increase over the previous year. The emergence of new or replacement strains of vaccine-preventable disease can result in a significant increase in serious illnesses and death.

It is important to check with the Family doctor about the vaccination needs for any family. Also it is important to learn how to spread the word about the importance of vaccination and immunization in our local community. Use #NationalImmunizationAwarenessMonth in social media correspondence.