Immunizations, also known as shots or vaccines, keep people of all ages safe from dangerous diseases and illnesses. These are most commonly received in childhood, as specific immunizations are often required at certain ages, but vaccines also keep adults safe from illnesses like the flu and measles. As August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month, it’s a great time to make sure you and your family are updated on vaccinations.
Why are immunizations important?
Vaccines are important for many reasons. Diseases that once killed or injured thousands of children in the past, like polio, have been nearly eliminated in our society. But just because these diseases aren’t nearly as prevalent now does not mean that we should consider them extinct. To keep ourselves and our children safe, immunizations are still needed to ensure they do not make a comeback. Unfortunately, due to the movement against vaccinations, outbreaks of such preventable diseases such as measles and mumps have occurred recently.
By getting yourself and your child vaccinated, you’re also helping protect those who can’t receive immunizations themselves. Young babies, those who have severe allergies, and those who have weakened immune systems due to conditions like leukemia are unable to get vaccinated but can still be protected thanks to herd immunity. The more people within a community who receive immunizations help prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses to those who are unvaccinated.
The immunizations for seemingly less significant viruses and illnesses are just as vital as those for major diseases. For example, the flu vaccine is essential every year, regardless of how many times you’ve gotten it in the past. Flu viruses are constantly changing, and vaccines are updated each year to protect against what is predicted to be the most prevalent virus strain. In other words, last year’s shot might not protect against this year’s flu.
What can I do to support National Immunization Awareness month?
It’s easy to raise awareness of vaccines! Take this August as a time to check if you and your family need to update your immunizations. If you have children who are going back to school, this is a perfect time to update scheduled immunizations and receive an annual flu shot.
If you and your family are already immunized, spread the word to your friends and neighbors about National Immunization Awareness month. Encourage them to make sure their shots are up-to-date and why they should be getting the flu vaccine every year. Make it a point to educate yourself about the vaccination myths so you can play your part in the spread of accurate information – not contagious diseases.
Want more information about immunizations? Contact us to find out which vaccines are right for you and your family, or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.