August is National Immunization Month
This month, as we prepare for school, college and the colder months ahead, remember to check your records to be sure your immunizations are up to date. It is our shared responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and the community from serious life threatening diseases.
“Immunization — perhaps the most significant public health achievement of the twentieth century — has eradicated smallpox and polio in the United States and has significantly reduced the number of cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella, tetanus, and other infectious diseases in the U.S. and other parts of the world.” —Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health.
Did you know?
- Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox and meningitis.
- When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their classroom and communities, including infants whose immune systems have not fully developed and are too young to be fully vaccinated.
- Booster shots for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough are recommended for youngsters who are age 11 or entering sixth grade in September.
- The CDC recommends that both preteen girls and boys should receive the HPV vaccine to protect against human papilloma virus, the most common cause of cervical cancer, genital warts, and/or anal cancer in both men and women.
Immunizations are not just for kids!
- Adults should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.
- Women who are pregnant should get the Tdap vaccine, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks, each time they are pregnant.
- The need for other adult vaccines such as shingles, pneumococcal, hepatitis and HPV depends on one’s age, occupation, travel, health status and other risk factors. It is also important to consider vaccines when traveling outside of the U.S.
- Individuals over the age of six months should receive a seasonal flu shot every year
For immunization schedules, visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/vaccines. To find an immunization clinic near you, call the Suffolk County Department of Health Immunization Action Hotline weekdays at 631-854-0222 or visit http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PatientCare/ImmunizationActionProgram.aspx