(O’Fallon, IL)  – August is observed as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), as sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). 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 both serious and fatal diseases. 
“Often immunizations are commonly thought of for babies or young children,” said Dr. Guy Venuti, pediatrician for HSHS Medical Group, “but they should be more accurately viewed by focusing on different stages of the lifespan: babies and young children, preteen and 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, such as infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems,” shared Venuti.
Certain vaccinations are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation, hobby or health condition(s). For instance:

  • Babies receive vaccinations that help protect them from 14 diseases by age two, including the commonly known Hepatitis A and B, Influenza, chickenpox, and the measles, mumps, and rubella diseases.  It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time.

  • It is recommended that pregnant women receive a flu and Tdap vaccine to remain as healthy as possible during the pregnancy.

  • Preteens and teens require the Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough – among other immunizations.

  • Children returning to school – either primary, secondary or college – should be vaccinated accordingly to protect from infectious diseases such as meningitis.

  • 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 ages on a yearly basis.

To learn more about what vaccinations are right for you, talk to your doctor, or to learn more about National Immunization Awareness Month at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html .

Photo: Dr. Guy Venuti, pediatrician for HSHS Medical Group

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Kelly Barbeau

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 234-2120, Ext. 41270

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