Appropriately enough, the month of August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). As parents around the country are shopping for ‘Back to School’ supplies, lunch boxes, and the cutest new outfits, one thing that is often overlooked is making sure your child’s vaccination records are up to date. The National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) produces a variety of resources that can be utilized by parents and caregivers throughout NIAM. NPHIC recognizes that relevant information about vaccinations will be different depending on what age group is being considered. To that end, NPHIC has created informational toolkits for school-age children, pregnant women, babies & young children, preteens and teenagers, and for adults.
The importance of following the recommended immunization schedule cannot be overstated. Considering that vaccinations are among the most cost-effective preventive health measure and annually prevents 14 million cases of disease, the CDC estimates that over 42,000 individuals in the U.S. die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Worldwide, immunization continues to be a challenge for public health infrastructures. Officials in the U.S. continue to deal with emerging issues regarding infectious diseases and potential outbreaks heightened by increased international trade and travel, immigration challenges, imported foods and agricultural practices, and bioterror threats.
All of these factors lead to the importance of taking advantage of awareness activities and NIAM events and activities. As a healthcare professional, your voice in the immunization awareness effort carries more weight than most. One of the easiest ways you can play a role this month is through your use of social media. Add a NIAM 2018 logo or banner to your Twitter feed or Facebook page and be sure to use the hashtag #NIAM2018 when you make a post. You can also share links to the CDC’s YouTube channel which features a collection of videos about immunization and vaccination. You can also proactively plan conversations with your patients to be prepared to answer any questions and concerns. The NIAM downloadable toolkit contains all of the resources you need to present the latest information and answer any questions that come your way.
Supplemental Health Care continues our alliance with Vaccine Ambassadors to help ensure that children have greater access to lifesaving vaccines. Through a partnership with Vaccine Ambassadors, SHC has committed to provide 5,000 vaccinations annually and embrace immunization advocacy efforts and help communicate the message that vaccines save lives.
If you are planning on taking part in NAIM activities this month or have any best practices or comments to share in regards to the latest vaccination information, please share your thoughts in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.