August is Immunization Awareness Month

August is Immunization Awareness Month

August 2015 – Scotch Plains, NJ

Smallpox was the first disease in which a successful vaccine was produced for its treatment.  Created by British physician Edward Jenner in 1796, the disease had proved to be a very contagious and deadly disease, causing the deaths of 20-60% of infected adults and over 80% of infected children.  When smallpox was finally eradicated in 1979, it had already killed an estimated 300-500 million people during the 20th century alone (  This vaccine would revolutionize the medical world and begin to positively influence immunizations for other diseases.  The first major documented polio outbreak in the U.S. caused 18 deaths and 132 cases of permanent paralysis were reported.  When it was discovered that the infectious agent in Polio was a virus, it had already taken the lives of more than 2,000 people in New York City.  Across the U.S. in 1916, Polio had killed 6,000 people and left thousands more paralyzed.  It wasn’t until the 1950s when researchers could see the Poliovirus itself with the electron microscope.  (  Once successfully created, the Polio vaccine saved many lives and ended the paralyzation that was a common symptom on the virus.  These vaccinations would lead to the development of other countless successful vaccines that would eventually eradicate lethal diseases, in turn preventing major epidemics.  Every August is deemed “National Immunization Awareness Month” or “NIAM” and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

This awareness month stresses the importance of being immunized against infectious and deadly diseases.  Each year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborates with the National Public Health Information Coalition to use the National Immunization Awareness Month as a vehicle to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels.  They host activities in the month of August focusing on encouraging adults and children to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases (…).

The month of August is when children, preteens, teens, and college students are preparing to go back to school.  It is the best time to remind parents to make sure that their loved ones have all the recommended vaccines by the time they return to school.  It’s also very important that college students are up-to-date on their immunizations before they move into their dormitories.  By the time August rolls around, it’s only a few months away from the dreaded flu season.  Every age six months and older needs a seasonal flu shot every year.  Other shots work best when they are given at certain ages, so it’s best to keep current on what to be vaccinated for by checking state and local health departments (…).  Parents are always in the right when they are cautious and concerned about how their children are being cared for, regardless of what they decide.



History of Vaccines


Centers for disease control




The Health Service Executive (HSE) National Immunization Office of Ireland



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