Immunizations could be considered as one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. August is National Immunizations Awareness Month and during the month we will be highlighting a different age group to teach about immunizations through the lifespan.
This week focuses on babies and young children.
Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from serious
diseases. Parents can provide the best protection by following the recommended
immunization schedule – giving their child the vaccines they need, when they need
Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age 2. It is very
important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on
time. After age 2, children are still recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccine.
Children are also due for additional doses of some vaccines between 4 and 6 years of
age. Following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important
things parents can do to protect their children’s health. If a child falls behind the
recommended immunizations schedule, vaccines can still be given to “catch-up” the
child before adolescence.
Child care facilities, preschool programs, and schools are prone to outbreaks of
infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one
another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as
interacting in crowded environments.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread
disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms, and communities
– including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened
immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions.