(O’Fallon, IL) – August is observed as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, HSHS Medical Group and health groups nationwide recognize the importance of proper immunizations, or vaccinations, for citizens of all ages, and encourage the public to make sure their immunizations are up-to-date to help prevent serious, sometimes fatal diseases.
HSHS Medical Group pediatricians Guy Venuti, MD and Kate Wade, MD regularly discuss the need and importance of immunizations with their patients.
Dr. Venuti said, “Often immunizations are primarily thought of for babies or young children, but they should be more accurately viewed as focusing on different stages of life: babies and young children, preteen/teen, pregnant women and adults.”
Vaccination needs should be assessed by an individual’s doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider.
“It is important to note that vaccination not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but it also helps prevent the spread of disease to those who are particularly most vulnerable to serious illnesses mainly infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems,” shared Dr. Wade.
NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Certain vaccinations are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation, hobby or health condition(s). Limited examples include:
• Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age two. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time.
• Children returning to school – either primary, secondary or college – should be vaccinated accordingly to protect from infectious diseases such as meningitis.
• Preteens and teens require the Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough – among other immunizations.
• It is recommended that pregnant women receive a flu and Tdap vaccine to remain as healthy as possible during the pregnancy.
• Adults should receive a tetanus and diphtheria booster vaccine every 10 years.
• Adults 60 years and older are recommended to receive the shingles vaccine, and some adults 65 and older are recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines.
• The flu vaccine is recommended for (all people aged 6 months or older) on a yearly basis.
To learn more about National Immunization Awareness Month, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html.