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National Immunization Awareness Month

August 1, 2018

August hails National Immunization Awareness Month. In plain language, an immunization is a shot that prevents an infection caused by a virus or bacteria. The shot, also known as a vaccine, puts ones very own "immune system" to work. Vaccines prevent infection in people of all ages, even if you're around people sick with the disease. Examples are polio, measles, mumps, flu, and chickenpox.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) is an important organization dedicated to the health of all children. In a report from 2016, the organization talks about the number of people asking for different vaccination schedules. These include holding off or refusing the shots altogether. With the explosion of information available on the Web, people read all sorts of stories about the dangers of vaccines. People have different reasons for questioning or refusing vaccines. Some have religious beliefs; others think the shots will cause harm. Still more do not trust the medical system or the government.

Good information is powerful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor vaccine safety. These agencies made a system allowing anyone to report a bad experience associated with a vaccine. It's called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). To learn more about the importance of vaccines, go to the CDC Vaccines & Immunizations page. We advise you to read this reliable information before a visit to your healthcare provider. And then talk with your provider about your concerns. The most important message is this. Vaccines are safe and effective. Serious disease can occur if your child and family don't get their shots.

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