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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

8/1/2013

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) provides an opportunity to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. In 2013, the National Public Health Information Coalition is coordinating NIAM activities.

During the month of August, parents and health care providers should remember:

• Vaccines are an important step in protecting against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.
• Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.
• A strong provider recommendation is one of the best ways to ensure patients get the vaccinations they need when 
   they need them.

Quick facts:

Vaccines give parents the power to protect their babies from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2.

• Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 
   14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.

• Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of, one – getting the disease or illness. And two – having
   a severe case of the disease or illness.

• You can’t predict or know in advance if an unvaccinated child will get a vaccine-preventable disease, nor can you
   predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.

• Vaccines don’t just protect your child. Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and
   public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community – especially babies who are too young
   to be vaccinated themselves.

• Most parents are vaccinating their children. Estimates from a CDC nationally representative childhood vaccine 
  communications poll (April 2012 online poll) suggest that most people are vaccinating according to schedule. In fact, 
  88.3% of parents reported that they are vaccinating according to schedule or are intending to do so.

• Most young parents in the U.S. have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like polio, measles or whooping
  cough (pertussis) can have on a family or community. It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth 
  is they still exist.

• Diseases like measles and rubella are only a plane ride away. Measles epidemics are occurring in Great Britain, and 
   rubella cases have skyrocketed in Japan. Large outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred in parts of the 
   U.S. over the past few years.

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