Spread the Word, Not the Disease: National Immunization Month

It’s August, which means we commemorate immunization and discuss why it is so important both here in the US and abroad.

The recommended schedule of vaccinations prevents illness, disability and death, especially among our very young children. The host of communicable diseases we reduce if not eradicate only grows, but here are some of the biggies: cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus. Whew! That list is enough to make you want to wash your hands, right?

Well thanks to immunization, we currently avert an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however, and 19 million babies go unprotected each year1.

Since 1994, a concerted effort has elevated awareness throughout the United States about the critical role inoculation plays in protecting infants from preventable diseases. Immunization Awareness Month celebrates the achievements that modern immunizations have had in protecting our children, communities and public health.

The success of vaccines in combatting contagious diseases can be considered one of the biggest public health achievements in the United States

The success of vaccines in combatting contagious diseases can be considered one of the biggest public health achievements in the United States, but there is still a profound need to continue raising awareness efforts.  As with the Measles outbreak, high immunization rates in the United States have made parents complacent because the diseases don’t appear to be an active threat.  There is also controversial, often highly inaccurate information about the potential dangers of vaccines distributed by certain fringe groups. It’s often not based in fact and ultimately ends up harming children.

Complacency and anti-vaccine efforts are the main targets of immunization awareness campaigns here in the US, but globally, in many other countries the issue is more one of access and poverty.  90% of deaths under the age of five are in parts of the world where entire communities are without access to routine health care.  There are organizations like Vaccine Ambassadors that developed a donation system for individuals and corporations to support childhood health efforts around the globe. If you are interested in helping underserved children in other nations, visit the Vaccine Ambassador link here: http://vaccineambassadors.org/about-us/

By keeping our kids up to date on their shots, we protect them from life-threatening conditions and reduce the risk of contagions through herd behavior. So stay on top of it and make sure that the moms and dads around you prioritize, so that all the children (and grown ups) in our communities remain healthy.

 

 

Reference: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs378/en/

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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