North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

August 12, 2009

August designation underscores importance of immunizations for all age groups

Health Watch By Robert Ellis

Special to The North Jefferson News




The month of August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month.

The goal of this month is to increase awareness about immunizations across the ages, from infants to the elderly. August is the perfect time to remind family, friends, co-workers, and those in the community to make sure to get their vaccinations.

As we approach fall, parents are enrolling their children in school, high school graduates are going off to college and healthcare workers are preparing for the fast approaching flu season.

Now is the time of year to find out whether you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations. Take the opportunity to talk with your doctor about which immunizations you and each member of your family may need.



Why are immunizations important?

Immunization is one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. Vaccines offer safe and effective protection and are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death.

It’s true that some diseases like polio and diphtheria are becoming very rare in the United States. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. The number of cases of measles, rubella, whooping cough and many other diseases has been significantly reduced as well.

However, despite these efforts, every year people in the U.S. still die from these and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases. Through the efforts of promoting vaccines, our children no longer have to receive the smallpox shot because the disease no longer exists. If we keep vaccinating now, in the future we may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won’t infect, cripple or kill our children.

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