Over the last two years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, immunization has been a major topic of discussion. Immunization is important for maintaining and promoting a healthy and balanced life. Vaccination can help protect yourself and the whole family from chronic and deadly diseases. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses, additional medical visits, hospitalizations, and further strain on the healthcare system. The month of August is observed as “National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)” in the United States. The month-long observance aims to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages – right from infants to the elderly. The goal of NIAM is to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that from 2010-2018, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years old have ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 732,000 deaths among children born between 1994 and 2013 have been prevented by vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) report estimates that vaccines prevent 2-3 million deaths each year. Although many serious diseases in adults aren’t common in the United States due to proper vaccination, these diseases can spread when people aren’t vaccinated. So, it is important to stay on top of your immunizations as an adult.
The 2022 month-long observance aims to generate awareness about immunization among the general public. In fact, immunization doesn’t just protect the people who get vaccinated, it also protects those around them. When the majority of people in a community remain immunized against a disease, it greatly reduces the chances of that disease spreading in the community. This in turn protects people such as infants who are too young to be immunized and those who are not able to get immunized due to medical reasons. The NIAM campaign encourages people to discuss with their physician, nurse, or other health care professional to ensure that they along with their family are protected against serious diseases by receiving routine vaccinations. It was in the year 1796 that the first vaccination in history was introduced by Edward Jenner, to create immunity against smallpox. Many diseases can be easily prevented by administering vaccines, which protect you from unseen viruses.
To properly observe NIAM, the Public Health Foundation (PHF) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have developed toolkits with key messages, graphics, and educational resources to highlight the benefits of immunization. These resources can be used to assist people in communicating about vaccinations during August and throughout the year. In addition, NIAM graphics are developed and sized for various social media platforms and used on websites, materials and newsletters. Customized sample newsletter content or announcements are used to spread the word about NIAM campaign.
Stay vaccinated on time to remain safe!