August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the efforts of healthcare providers to protect patients of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination.
During NIAM, Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN) encourages you to ensure that you and your patients are up- to-date on recommended vaccines. Research has consistently shown that healthcare professionals are the most trusted source of vaccine information for parents and patients; and for this reason, they play a key role in educating patients and parents about the importance of vaccination.
Erin McGuire, quality improvement consultant for Great Plains QIN-Kansas, believes in the value of immunizations for all ages. “The goal, if you will, of population health is to keep people healthy, as a group, with a strong focus on preventive care. Currently, adult vaccination rates are low across our country. In order to have a positive impact on population health, it is crucial we work collectively to raise our adult vaccination rates.”
Immunization records are often needed for entry into child-care, kindergarten, school, summer camp, and college or other post-high school training, as well as for future employment, international travel and changing healthcare providers/facilities. Not everyone has access to or even knows how to go about accessing their immunization records. It can be difficult the older we get to find our vaccination history as recommendations change; it is important to start a file or record of your vaccines as you gather your information.
“Immunizations protect myself and the ones I care about, helping to ensure we can live our lives to the fullest,” added McGuire. “My mom has a compromised immune system. Making sure my family is tracking and staying up-to-date on their immunizations contributes to keeping my mom healthy!”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together a fact sheet to assist with finding immunization records as well as record cards for recording vaccinations.