August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM highlights the need for improving national immunization levels and encourages all people to protect their health by getting immunized against infectious diseases. The observance is a great way to promote timely immunization for people of all ages. It also serves as a reminder to the nation that influenza season is only a few months away. Learn more.
Each week of the month is dedicated to highlighting the importance of immunizations for a specific population; the first week being babies and small children.
No grandparent can resist the outstretched hands or offered kisses of their grandchild. While the chubby fingers and slobbery kisses are expressing love, they are also creating a risk of spreading disease.
Child care facilities, preschool programs and schools are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to others due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and interacting in a common space.
As a result, playmates, siblings, parents and grandparents of young children are also at risk for spreading or being exposed to these infectious diseases. People with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions are especially vulnerable.
Babies receive vaccination to help protect them from 14 diseases by the time they turn two. Additional vaccines are recommended between four and six years old and a yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all individuals over the age of two.
While the Midwest flu vaccination rate is higher than the national average, yearly declines are causing concern. The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network is working with healthcare facilities across the four-state region to improve vaccination rates for vulnerable populations who are at risk for serious health complications and even death.
Parents can learn more about recommended vaccines at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for parents. Following the recommended immunization schedules for young children and adults provides protection for the child and the family and friends who care for and love them.
There is also an abbreviated toolkit for school-aged children to help you remind parents to get their children vaccinated before the school year starts.