Child Immunization Awareness: 3 Key Tips for Parents
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases (like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia) with vaccines. To learn more about child immunization, talk to your doctor, nurse, or child’s healthcare team to ensure that your child is up to date on recommended vaccines.
Why is child immunization awareness important? On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
Here are 3 child immunization awareness tips for parents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
1. Vaccines protect against vaccine-preventable diseases
- You have the power to protect your children against serious diseases like measles, cancers caused by HPV, and whooping cough.
- Vaccines provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially serious, even life-threatening diseases.
- Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections; HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV; Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough; and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
- Ask your child’s doctor or nurse about the vaccines your child needs to be protected against serious diseases.
2. Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious diseases
- Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely develop immunity to disease.
- Vaccines are among the most effective ways to protect against serious diseases. Many vaccine-preventable diseases are no longer common thanks to vaccines.
- Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.
- Like all medical products, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and go away quickly.
3. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still a threat. Vaccination is the best protection.
- While many serious diseases are no longer common in the United States thanks to vaccines, these diseases still exist and can spread when people aren’t vaccinated.
- Even though many serious vaccine-preventable diseases are uncommon in the United States, some are common in other parts of the world. Even if your family does not travel internationally, you could come into contact with international travelers anywhere in your community.
- This year’s measles outbreaks are a key reminder of how quickly diseases can spread when children aren’t vaccinated.
- Some diseases that are prevented by vaccines, like whooping cough and chickenpox, remain common in the United States.
- Some infections that are prevented by vaccines, like HPV, can also lead to serious health problems later in life. Over 30,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year.
- Following the recommended immunization schedule helps you protect your child against vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to research from the Scientific Centre for Children’s Health, the risk of severe disease outcomes and complications of infectious diseases are increased in children and adolescents with chronic conditions, and one of the most important measures is to improve immunization rates in children with chronic conditions. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor about recommended immunizations and schedules.
Source: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, National Immunization Awareness Month
Child Immunization and Back-to-School Month
As your children head back to school, it’s a key time to make sure they are up to date on all the vaccines they need to stay healthy. Without child immunization, kids are at a greater risk of catching one of the vaccine-preventable diseases. Download the CDC’s free Vaccination Guide for information on vaccines recommended throughout your child’s life, and talk to your child’s doctor to ensure your child is up to date on recommended vaccines.
By raising awareness about the importance of child immunization, communities, organizations, and health professionals can help increase immunization rates within their communities.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR FAMILIES IMPACTED BY CHILDHOOD CHRONIC ILLNESS
Since 2001, CoachArt has matched volunteer coaches with students for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. Our vision is that one day every family impacted by chronic illness will be connected to a community of support and an opportunity to learn and grow together.
CoachArt offers free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18 in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. If your child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, we invite you to fill out a student eligibility form or get in touch to learn if CoachArt is right for your child.
WAYS TO HELP
Do you have an artistic or athletic skill you would like to share with a child impacted by chronic illness? Become a CoachArt Volunteer.
Learn how you can get involved with CoachArt to help kids impacted by chronic illness. Visit coachart.org/get-involved.