National Immunization Month is observed in August as a reminder to families with school-age children that this is the time to make sure that each child is up to date on their immunizations. In Alaska, about one in four children are not properly immunized by the age of three. The Department of Health and Social Services is encouraging all Alaskans to make sure that younger children are immunized as well as school-aged children.
National Immunization Awareness Month is sponsored by the National Partnership for Immunization to educate Americans on immunization issues and serves to remind the nation that people of all ages require timely immunization for good health.
"National Immunization Awareness Month focuses attention on the importance of immunizations for Alaskans of all ages," said Public Health Immunization Program Manager Laurel Wood. "Both children and adults need to be adequately protected from preventable diseases. Adults may experience more serious complications from diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, and chickenpox. All persons should check with a medical provider to be sure their immunizations are up to date."
Immunization is one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. Vaccines have eradicated smallpox; eliminated wild polio virus in the U.S.; and significantly reduced the number of cases of measles, diphtheria, rubella, pertussis, and other diseases. However, despite these efforts, thousands of people in the U.S. still suffer from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. By being current with their vaccinations, individuals can protect themselves, their families, and friends from avoidable illness and shield their community from serious, life-threatening infectious disease outbreaks.
For more immunization information, please call the Alaska Immunization Hotline at 1-888-430-4321, your local health department, public health center, or visit us online at http://www.epi.alaska.gov/immunize.