National Immunization Awareness Month
Highlighting the Importance of Vaccinations for People of All Ages
Are you ready? It’s August soon, and that means it’s time for NIAM. If that acronym doesn’t make any sense to you, perhaps the meaning behind it will. August is the time to recognize National Immunization Awareness Month, highlighted on social media as #NIAM17.
NIAM is an annual observance noting the importance of vaccinations for people of all ages. This event was created to encourage individuals to ensure they are current on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities everywhere will champion this time to raise awareness about the pivotal role vaccines play in preventing not only serious, but sometimes deadly, diseases. With kids heading back to school and the flu season right around the corner, August is the perfect month to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines.
Getting vaccinated is important for everyone, and did you know that by getting your infants and young children vaccinated you can protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases before the age of two? Even preteens and teenagers are not immune from the benefits of vaccines, which can help to protect their friends and family members, as well. Older adults should make sure their immunization schedules are up-to-date, as are seniors who may need one or more vaccines at this time, even if they have already received them as a child or young adult.
Working in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) has created communication toolkits to help further the understanding of vaccines. These toolkits provide access to important messages, media materials, frequently asked questions, relevant website links, and social media messages. Groups and organizations partnering with the CDC can use this information to remind parents of the importance of vaccines when it comes to protecting their children’s health, as well as answer questions about vaccines in general.
The toolkits are also a great resource for college-aged students and can be used as a talking point when communicating with their health care professional about any vaccines they may need to return to school. Further, adults, especially older adults or adults with chronic conditions, can learn about the vaccines they need to remain healthy, and pregnant women can learn about the importance of getting vaccinated as a means to protect newborns from certain diseases, such as whooping cough and the flu.
Throughout each week of #NIAM17, there will be a specific focus on various age groups and demographics:
- July 31 – August 6: Babies and young children
- August 7-13: Pregnant women
- August 14-20: Adults
- August 21-27: Preteen/Teen
- July/August: Back to School
Vaccines are a strong line of defense against serious diseases, and it is important to stay current with all recommended immunizations. If you are uncertain about what protection you may need at this point in your life, please speak with your healthcare provider about what you – and your family – may need in order to keep yourself as healthy as possible.
For more information on NIAM and to access a toolkit, go online at cdc.gov, vaccines.gov or at nphic.org. You may also contact your state or local health department for additional information and resources.