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August is National Immunization Awareness Month; talk to your patients



August 01, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: 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 between1994-2013, 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.

"Immunizations represent one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century," said CMA President Ruth Haskins, M.D. "As an OB-GYN, I see the life-preserving benefits of vaccines every single day in my patients and their babies. The science is crystal clear on this issue – vaccines are safe and effective at preventing potentially deadly diseases."

To help get the word out about the importance of vaccination at every age, the National Public Health Information Coalition, in collaboration with the CDC’s  National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has developed toolkits to help you communicate with your patients about vaccines. Each week of #NIAM17 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 a back-to-school toolkit for to help you remind parents to get their children vaccinated before the school year starts. As you know, last year marked the implementation of California's landmark legislation (SB 277) that eliminated 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.

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