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

August 9, 2021

Thanks to modern medicine and Tribal health advancements, many diseases that were once devastating are no longer common in the United States. However, diseases can still spread quickly if we stop vaccinating against them. The 2019 measles outbreaks are a reminder of how quickly diseases can spread when children are not vaccinated.

We recognize August as National Immunization Awareness Month and 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.

  • 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. The 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 flu shots.
  • Everyone 12 years and older: COVID-19 vaccines.

“One of the many unfortunate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has diverted attention from important preventive health measures, including routine immunizations. Our children and our communities may suffer from infectious diseases that are easily prevented by routine childhood immunizations,” Dr. Anne Musser, Medical Director of the CHAP Program here at ANTHC

Many daycare centers, school districts and colleges also require proof of these routine immunizations before enrolling. August is a great time to check with your provider about your child’s vaccination records and get back on track if COVID-19 or the summer months have knocked them off schedule.

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

Yearly flu shot

Getting an annual influenza vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the yearly flu shot. “Flu season” is in the fall and the winter. That is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning for the yearly flu shot, which typically become available in September.

“Last year we had an unusually mild flu season,” Dr. Musser said. “We were all hunkered down, wearing masks and socially distancing to avoid COVID-19.  Those measures also helped to protect us from the flu.  This year, the COVID-19 restrictions have eased up, people are engaging in more social activities and the flu is likely to make a comeback.  It is important that people get their flu shot to help protect themselves, their families and their communities against the flu.”

Some people, such as Elders, young children, and people with certain chronic health conditions, are at high risk for developing serious complications from the flu. Serious complications of the flu can result in hospitalization or even death. Getting your flu vaccine will help protect yourself and others around you!

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