The Hospice Insider | August 9, 2016
Every August is the annual observance of National Immunization Awareness Month, also known as NIAM, highlighting the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. The National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) sponsors NIAM.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website, “NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities have continued to use the month each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.”
In collaboration with the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, NPHIC has developed toolkits to communicate about vaccines for various audiences. Each week in August it focuses on a different stage of the lifespan beginning with the first week being Adults, second week Pregnant Women, Babies and Young Children on the third week and the final week concentrating on Preteens and Teens.
The CDC develops immunization materials for education efforts during NIAM and throughout the year. They convey the following:
- Remind parents of the important role vaccines play in protecting their child’s health and answer their questions about vaccines
- Encourage college students to talk to their healthcare professional about any vaccines they may need for school entry
- Educate adults, especially older adults and adults with chronic conditions, about vaccines they may need
- Educate pregnant women about getting vaccinated to protect newborns from diseases like whooping cough (pertussis) and flu
- Remind everyone that the next flu season is only a few months away
The CDC also recommends checking with your state or local health department to see if they have additional immunization resources you can use during NIAM.