August Is National Immunization Awareness Month
August 1, 2008 -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize August as National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunization, noted as one of the most significant health interventions of the 20th century, has helped eradicate smallpox worldwide, virtually eliminated polio from this hemisphere, and significantly reduced the occurrence of measles, diphtheria, rubella, pertussis, and other diseases in the U.S. While many people are routinely immunized, there are still tens of thousands of deaths around the world caused by vaccine-preventable diseases.
The CDC recommends that the majority of vaccinations be given between the ages of 1 and 6, but there are other immunizations recommended for administration during the adolescent or adult years, and some which require boosters throughout life. Staying up to date on the recommended vaccines is an important measure to protect yourself and others from life-threatening diseases. Among adults, the elderly are especially at risk, and immunizations are strongly recommended for people over the age of 60.
The Institute of Medicine considers the national immunization system to be highly successful, providing invaluable protection against infectious disease. While many people already participate in the vaccination program, a new approach toward financing and distributing vaccines would achieve broader public access to immunization throughout the U.S. and also help sustain the development and production of vaccines in the future, says IOM's Financing Vaccines in the 21st Century: Assuring Access and Availability. Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response also calls for the development of new vaccines and the maintenance of adequate vaccine supplies in order to implement a national vaccine strategy.