August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of American adults get sick each year from diseases that vaccines can prevent.
WHY SHOULD YOU VACINATE?
- Pregnant women and their babies are at greater risk for complications from flu and pertussis.
- Pertussis is still common in the United States. During the first few months of life, infants are at greatest risk of contracting pertussis and having severe, potentially life-threatening complications from the infection. Tdap vaccination during pregnancy helps protect infants until they can get their own vaccines.
- Pregnant women and their babies are at increased risk for influenza-related complications. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization.
- While many serious diseases are no longer common in the United States thanks to vaccines, these diseases still exist and can spread when children aren’t vaccinated.
- This year’s measles outbreaks are a reminder of how quickly these diseases can spread when children aren’t vaccinated.
- We also still see many cases of pertussis. Since 2010, between 15,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported each year in the United States.
- Every year, over 30,000 men and women are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV. HPV vaccination could prevent most of these cancers from ever developing.
- While relatively rare, some children die from flu each year.
- Vaccinating patients according to the recommended immunization schedule is the best way to protect children and teens from serious diseases.
- Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. become seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many adults even die from these diseases.
- Adult vaccination rates are low in the U.S. Most adults are not aware that they need vaccines.
- Adults with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease are at greater risk for severe complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases.
Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children reported to CDC during regular flu seasons have ranged from 37 deaths to 186 deaths each season. About 8 in 10 children who die from flu-related complications are not vaccinated against the flu. By health professionals assuring that their patients get the recommended vaccines, they can help protect them from much of this unnecessary suffering. Visit your local Health Department to see if you are up to date on your vaccinations.