August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Back-to-school season is here: time to gather notebooks, backpacks, and other school supplies in preparation for the coming school year. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)—the perfect time to make sure children are up to date on their vaccines.
The Norwalk Health Department is joining with partners nationwide to recognize NIAM and urge Norwalk parents to check with their doctors about what vaccines their child might need before the start of the school year. Without their recommended vaccines, children are at increased risk of getting sick and of spreading diseases to others in their classrooms and community, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems.
“Vaccines protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases,” explained Pam Bates, RN, BSN, Immunization Action Plan Program Coordinator. “Getting children all of their recommended vaccines is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure a healthy school year and a healthy future for their child.”
The Health Department offers all routine childhood vaccines, as well as guidance on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended immunization schedule.
In addition, earlier this summer, the Health Department’s Immunization Action Plan Program launched a Win/Win campaign to raise awareness about required and recommended vaccines for middle school students (Win = Immunity and Win = iPad). In June, parents of Norwalk students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 received information on vaccines for their age group, including a postcard highlighting the anti-cancer human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The mailing encouraged families to visit their doctor’s office over the summer, talk about the importance of the HPV vaccine, and start or continue the three-dose series of the vaccine. Students can then return the postcard to the Health Department after their visit (physician’s signature and stamp required) to be entered in a drawing to win an iPad.
Parents can find out more about the recommended vaccines at the CDC or the Health Department or by calling the Health Department at (203) 854-7728.