To the Editor:
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Receiving recommended vaccines are critically important for public health. Parents want to do everything they can to ensure the health of family members. Vaccination is a good way to do that. As a longtime health advocate and professional, I remind you that immunizations are not just for children, they are needed throughout our lifetime.
For parents and guardians of newborns, vaccines give parents a safe and an effective tool to protect their children from more than a dozen serious diseases before they turn 2 years of age. Children, teens and college students should receive their recommended immunizations before they return to school this fall.
Every dose of vaccine is important to protect against infectious diseases like the flu, measles, whooping cough and meningitis, some of which can be life threatening. You can provide the best protection by talking to a licensed medical professional about establishing an immunization schedule – giving your family every vaccine they need, when they need it – and by making sure those who will be around infants are vaccinated, too.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 48,000 reported cases – including 20 deaths – of whooping cough in the United States in 2012. This marked the higher count in more than 60 years. Vaccinations and immunizations could have stopped this outbreak. Spend a few minutes this month to find out what you can do to protect you and your family from infectious disease. Immunizations remain the smartest and effective means to protect you from getting ill.
Nancy J. Pinkin