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National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)

NPI has designated August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Each year, this commemorative month increases awareness about immunization across the lifespan as parents and children prepare for the return to school, and the medical community begins preparations for the upcoming flu season. NIAM provides an opportunity to create positive messages for the media and to highlight local, grassroots immunization initiatives.

Immunizations are an important part of the life cycle. It is vitally important that every person, not only in Delaware but also throughout the United States and the world, receive the necessary immunizations from the many dangerous diseases and illnesses.

This year's campaign is focused around the theme, "Are You Up to Date? Vaccinate!" and will be used to remind people of all ages of the importance of immunization. August is the perfect time to remind your family, friends, co-workers, and community members to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and health care workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season.

Vaccines have been used since the 1700s and are one of the public health field's greatest successes. Vaccines serve as protection from over a dozen different diseases that once were common throughout the United States. Despite the effectiveness of these vaccines against potentially fatal illnesses, more than 30,000 adults still die each year from these preventable diseases. Influenza and pneumonia combined are the fifth leading cause of death in older Americans. Furthermore, virtually all people who have not been vaccinated against chickenpox or had the disease as a child are at risk for contracting chickenpox as an adult. The risk of complications and death from chickenpox can be up to 10 to 20 times greater for adults than children.

National Immunization Awareness Month began in 2001 as a way to call attention to the importance of immunizations in preventing serious, life-threatening, vaccine-preventable diseases. NIAM is sponsored by National Partnership for Immunization and endorsed by more than 40 national organizations. I hope that everyone will take advantage of NIAM to encourage patients, family and others in the community to check their medical records and remind them of the importance of being up-to-date on their immunizations and the immunizations of their dependents, young and old. As our country moves toward its future, it is important that we ensure that Americans do not fall victim to avoidable diseases and illnesses. The medical world is improving everyday and it is essential that we utilize its advancements.
Did you know?

  • Children need immunizations against 11 diseases by their second birthday.
  • About 100 people DIE each year in the United States as a result of chickenpox.
  • Before polio vaccine was available, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were reported each year in the United States.
  • Influenza and pneumonia combined are the fifth leading cause of death among older Americans.
  • If vaccinations were stopped, each year 2.7 million measles deaths worldwide could be expected.
  • In the United States, about 80,000 new hepatitis B cases are reported each year.
  • Since the introduction of the conjugate Aemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Meningitis vaccine in December 1987, the incidence of Hib has declined by 98 percent.
  • Before pertussis (whooping cough) immunizations were available, nearly all children developed whooping cough. In the U.S., prior to pertussis immunization, between 150,000 and 260,000 cases of pertussis were reported each year, with up to 9,000 pertussis-related deaths.
  • Before the mumps vaccine was introduced, mumps was a major cause of deafness in children, occurring in approximately 1 in 20,000 reported cases.
  • Children who are not vaccinated against measles are 35 times more likely than immunized children to catch the disease.

Information from these two websites:

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