August 01, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Patient Care Patient Education Public Health Vaccination
August marks National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), a national effort to promote vaccinations and protect children and adults from serious, and sometimes deadly, preventable diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), immunizations are one of the top 10 public health accomplishments of the 20th century. Among children born between 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
As part of this important effort, the California Medical Association (CMA) and its county medical societies are encouraging physicians to talk to their patients about the importance of vaccinations – for people of all ages.
"Vaccines have proven the safest way to greatly reduce and prevent infectious diseases like measles, pertussis, polio and bacterial meningitis that once routinely harmed or killed children and adults," said CMA President Steve Larson, M.D., MPH. "We encourage Californians of all ages to ensure their immunization records are up-to-date."
To help get the word out, the National Public Health Information Coalition, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has developed toolkits to help you communicate with your patients about vaccines. Each week of #NIAM16 focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:
The NIAM toolkit contains key messages, vaccine information, sample articles, social media messages, FAQs, and web links and resources. You can also get eye-catching NIAM logos and banners to highlight your NIAM participation on your social media profiles. Download the toolkit at www.nphic.org/niam.
NIAM also provides an abbreviated toolkit for school-aged children to help you remind parents to get their children vaccinated before the school year starts. As you know, this year marks the implementation of California's landmark legislation (SB 277) that eliminates personal belief exemptions from school vaccinations. CMA sponsored this critical legislation, which will help protect the most vulnerable Californians – including babies too young to be immunized and people who are immunocompromised – from the risks associated with contracting these diseases. It will also protect the community at large from increased outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.