Every year during the month of August, different people come together to celebrate the “National Immunization Awareness Month” – sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). It is designed to emphasize the significance of vaccination for people of all ages. The idea is to encourage everyone to ensure that they are vaccinated as recommended. The month has been used continuously by different communities to raise awareness about the importance of vaccines in preventing severe and sometimes deadly diseases.
Immunizations use a small number of weakened or killed pathogens (or lab-made protein in some cases) that imitate the microbe in order to hinder infection from that particular bacteria or virus.
The vaccination process involves being injected with a debilitated form of a disease, which then activates your immune response and causes it to either induce certain processes that boost immunity or produce antibodies to that particular sickness. In the event that you are exposed to the real disease-causing organism in the future, your immune system is ready to counteract the infection. As such, vaccines are useful at preventing the onset of an ailment or reducing its severity.
About the Campaign
Each week of 2017’s NIAM concentrates on a specific stage of the lifespan:
- July 31 to August 6 (babies and young children)
- August 7 to 13 (Pregnant women)
- August 14 to 20 (Adults)
- August 21 to 27 (Preteen and teenagers)
School aged children also get an abbreviated toolkit to help them remind parents about vaccination before the beginning of the school year. The toolkits include social media messages, media materials, key messages, web links, FAQs, and resources. Adults, on the other hand, have access to beautiful NIAM banners and logos to highlight their involvement in NIAM on their social media profiles.
Theme for 2017 National Immunization Awareness Month
A unique theme has been chosen for every week of the NIAM, depending on the age group designated for that particular period.
Why Should You Get Immunized?
The idea behind public health is to control disease. Indeed, preventing a disease is much easier and more cost-effective than treating it. Apart from protecting us against serious diseases, immunizations also prevent these diseases from spreading to others. In fact, they have been extremely effective at counteracting epidemics of infectious diseases like whooping cough, mumps, and measles. What’s more, immunizations have helped us eradicate conditions such as smallpox and polio almost completely. When it comes to application, some vaccines should be taken only once, while others call for “boosters” or updates to maintain successful immunization.
Since most schools and day cares require proof of immunization before enrollment, it is important to keep your children updated on their vaccines. The recommended immunizations for young children (0-6 years) include:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis A
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Mumps, measles, rubella
- Haemophilus influenzae type B
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
At one point in time, each of those diseases posed a serious threat to children, killing thousands every year. The National Immunization Awareness Month campaign has helped to significantly reduce their impact by encouraging vaccination. It is important to stick to the schedule when it comes to immunizations, as missing even a single dose can compromise you in the future.