National Immunization Awareness Month: Why Immunization Is Important
August is observed as the National Immunization Awareness Month in the US. This is the ideal time to ensure that everyone in your family is immunized as appropriate for their age. The NIAM is a campaign that is conducted to stress upon the importance of vaccines and vaccination for people of all ages: from newborns and teens to adults and seniors.
Vaccines can help prevent deadly diseases and save thousands of lives. The CDC says that thousands of Americans get sick every year from preventable diseases because they don’t get vaccinated.
What You Can Do
Talk to friends and family about the importance of getting vaccinated against preventable diseases.
Keep a file that contains the details about the immunization routine of your family members. Check out the CDC website occasionally or take a look at the table below to ensure if everyone in your family undertakes recommended vaccines on time.
A Few Things You Need To Remember:
- Vaccination helps eradicate or minimize the effects of several diseases that once were put in the list of fatal diseases. All vaccines are the result of years of painstaking research and have to pass stringent checks and tests by the FDA before being approved.
- Vaccination is a safe, easy, and effective way to keep your family protected from many diseases.
- It protects you from preventable diseases
- Vaccinations improve the immunity of your community as a whole
- People who are sick should not get vaccinated
- People with weak immune system should consult their doctor before getting vaccines
- You may get mild side-effects after a vaccine shot, like fever, inflammation, itching, and redness at injection site, fatigue, and so on.
How Vaccinations Work
Our immune system fights pathogens, which it perceives as invaders. Technically, vaccines train the body system to identify and fight a number of pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. Vaccination prepares the body for a could be possible disease.
When pathogens enter the human body, the immune system starts responding to it to build an adaptive immune response. It creates antibodies to fight the pathogen.
So, if a pathogen ever enters your body, your immune system has an answer for it. The primary job of vaccines is to make your immune system stronger so it can fight the viruses and bacteria by itself and stop them from multiplying and becoming a disease in future
Vaccines are usually administered as an injection, and it has two components: antigen and adjuvant. The antigen is what the body needs to recognize as the disease, and the adjuvant is what sends danger signals to the body systems and triggers a response to the antigen.
When the immune system creates the response pattern and antibodies, you develop immunity against that particular disease.
Obviously, vaccines are of utmost importance to infants, and they must be vaccinated as per the schedule recommended by the CDC. However, many vaccines are needed for adults too, like the annual flu vaccine, Shingles vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, and others.
Recommended Schedule of Vaccinations
- MMR – minimum 1 month before conceiving
- Tdap – 3rd trimester of pregnancy
- Annual Flu Shot – by end of October (if possible)
Birth to Age 2
- Hepatitis B: 1st dose at birth, 2nd at 1-2 months, 3rd dose at 6-18 months
- Rotavirus: 1st dose at 2 months, 2ndat 4 months, 3rd dose at 6 months
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Whooping Cough (DTaP): 1st dose at 2 months, 2nd dose at 4 months, 3rd dose at 6 months, 4th dose at 16–18 months
- Hemophilus Influenzae Type-B (Hib): 1st dose at 2 months, 2nd dose at 4 months, 3rd dose at 6 months, 4th at 12–15 months
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine PCV13: 1st dose at 2 months, 2nd dose at 4 months, 3rd dose at 6 months, 4th doseat 12-15 months
- Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV): 1st dose at 2 months, 2nd dose at 4 months, 3rd dose at 6–18 months
- Influenza: 6 months
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella): 12-15 months
- Varicella (chickenpox): 12-15 months
- Hepatitis A: 12-23 months
- Flu Shot: By the end of October every year
- Varicella: 4 to 6 years
- DTap: 4 to 6 years
- MMR: 4 to 6 years
- PV: 4to 6 years
Ages 11 to 18
- Flu Vaccine: by the end of October every year
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): 1st dose: 11 to 12 years, 2nd dose 6-12 months after
- Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine: 1st dose: 11to 12 years, 2nd dose at 16 years
- Tdap: 11 – 12 years
- Serogroup B Meningococcal vaccine: May be given at 16 through 23 years
- Flu Vaccine: every year at the end of October
- Td Vaccine: Once in every 10 years
- Shingles Vaccine: healthy adults aged 50+
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine plus a dose of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine: healthy adults 65+; adults less than 65 years of age with heart disease, diabetes, HIV, cancer etc.
Other Vaccines You May Need Depending on Specific Situations or Conditions:
- Any individual travelling to Africa or South America should get the yellow fever vaccine.
- A rabies vaccine may be needed if you get bitten by a stray dog, fox, raccoon, bat, mongoose, etc.
- A person traveling to Asia, Africa, and South America may be advised to take the typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines.
So when are you planning to get yourself and your family vaccinated? Do you want to discuss anything related to vaccination? Speak to Epic Primary Care today!
Epic Primary Care understands the importance of vaccination and encourages everyone to take their vaccines on time.