- August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This observance provides the opportunity to remind the community of the importance of immunization. Make sure that your family and friends are up-to-date on their immunizations.
- In August, parents are enrolling children in school, older students are entering college and adults and the health care community are preparing for the upcoming flu season. This makes August a particularly good time to focus community attention on the value of immunization.
- Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that once routinely killed or harmed tens of thousands of infants, children and adults.
- The viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist and can infect people who are not protected by vaccines. Vaccine-preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctors' visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work.
- Maintaining high immunization rates protects the entire community by interrupting the transmission of disease-causing bacteria or viruses. This reduces the risk that unimmunized people will be exposed to disease-causing agents. This type of protection is known as community or herd immunity, and embodies the concept that protecting the majority with safe, effective vaccines also protects those who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.
Source: National Partnership for Immunization (www.partnersforimmunization.org)
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Last Editorial Review: 8/1/2005