August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a reminder to keep up with childhood vaccinations | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a reminder to keep up with childhood vaccinations

August 8, 2022




In 1925, a large outbreak of the now-vaccine-preventable disease, diphtheria, occurred in Nome. The community was in need of an antitoxin to help control the widespread occurrence of the disease. To transport the antitoxin to Nome in a timely manner, 20 mushers ran their sled dogs in a relay 674 miles across Alaska from Nenana to Nome, which inspired the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. In the 1920s, the United States used to see as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria a year. Thanks to diphtheria vaccines, that number has dropped by 99.9%.

We recognize August as National Immunization Awareness Month and as an opportunity to talk about safe, effective immunizations that have saved countless lives.

Immunizations for all ages are a key part of personal, family and community health. Today, ANTHC’s Immunization Program coordinates with Tribal health partners statewide, advocates for the needs of Tribal immunization programs, and educates Tribal staff on immunization recommendations and vaccine-preventable diseases.

With Alaskan schools headed back into session, August is a great time to check with your provider about your child’s vaccination records. Sticking to the recommended vaccine schedules helps keep children strong and healthy.

  • From birth to 2 years old: It is especially important to have regularly scheduled well-child appointments to monitor growth and development and to and stay up to date on immunizations. Immunizations help children to build immunity to preventable infectious diseases.
  • School-aged kids: Just before they start kindergarten, children should have booster shots for the common childhood infections.
  • Teens: There are several immunizations specifically for teens, including HPV and meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
  • Adults: Pneumonia, shingles, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
  • Everyone 6 months and older: Yearly influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

Parents can also learn more about the recommended immunizations for their kids’ age: 

Yearly flu vaccine

Influenza (flu) causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Flu can be a very serious illness for older people, people with certain health conditions, and young children. The single best way to protect against seasonal flu and its potential severe complications is for children to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. The flu vaccine is recommended for all children aged 6 months and older.

Making healthy choices at school and at home can help you prevent infection and spreading flu to others. Vaccination is also a way for communities and families to reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school. With the flu season is just around the corner, now is a good time to start planning for your flu vaccine.

Receiving a flu vaccine will help protect yourself and loved ones around you!

The Walk-in Clinic at ANMC is available 365 days a year for non-emergent health care services and will offer flu vaccinations when they become available in the fall. Typically, flu vaccines are available in late September or early October each year through June of the following year. No appointment is needed and the Walk-in Clinic is open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekends.

Additionally, the Walk-in Clinic is offering first, second and booster doses for the COVID-19 vaccine during normal clinic hours, except holidays.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Walk-in Clinic at (907) 729-1500.

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