August is National Immunization Awareness Month! The Hopewell Township Health Department encourages you to talk to your healthcare provider to ensure your family is protected against serious diseases by getting caught-up on routine vaccinations. Some diseases are no longer common in the United States because of vaccination. However, diseases can spread quickly if we stop vaccinating against them.
As your children head back to school, it is particularly important to work with your child’s doctor or nurse to make sure they get caught-up on any missed well-visits and recommended vaccines. Vaccines work with your child’s natural defenses to help them safely develop protection from diseases. The immunization schedule is designed to provide protection early in life, before children are likely to be exposed to serious, potentially life-threatening diseases. Some vaccines require more than one dose to provide your child with the best protection. Each recommended dose is important.
Children who are not protected by vaccines are more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough. These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children. In recent years, there have been outbreaks of these diseases, especially in communities with low vaccination rates. Since 2010, CDC has seen between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Whooping cough can cause serious complications, like pneumonia and rib fractures, for children and teenagers. Coughing fits can last for 10 weeks or more.
For preteens, it is important they are vaccinated against HPV early. More than 35,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year. Vaccines have been used to prevent the spread of communicable diseases for over a century. Recommended vaccinations for birth through age 18 can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/parents/index.html. Making sure your child sees their doctor for well-child visits and recommended vaccines is one of the best things you can do to protect your child and community from serious diseases that are easily spread.
Also remember to take care of yourself and be sure to receive any vaccines you need to stay healthy. Even if you received the vaccines you needed as a child, the protection from some vaccines can wear off as we get older. You may also be at risk for other diseases due to your job, lifestyle, travel, or underlying health conditions that increase the risk of infection, such as diabetes. Use CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool to see which vaccines might be right for you and discuss specific questions or concerns with your healthcare provider: https://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/.
Stay protected against serious diseases like shingles, pneumonia, COVID-19 and influenza. Everyone ages 6 months and older should stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting boosters if eligible. With vaccines, you have the ability and power to protect yourself and your loved ones against the most serious outcomes from many common infections. Don’t delay – talk to your healthcare provider today!
Submitted by Dawn Marling, Hopewell Township Health Official
If you rely on MercerMe for your local news, please support us.
To keep the news coming, we rely on support from subscribers and advertising partners. Hyperlocal, independent, and digital — MercerMe has been providing Hopewell Valley its news since 2013. Subscribe today.