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National Immunization Awareness Month: Ensuring a Healthy Future

On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.

Always remember to talk with your provider about vaccines your child may need, and ensure they’re up to date with the recommended schedule.

Protecting yourself and others
  • Vaccines are effective not only because they protect individuals who have been vaccinated but also because they provide a broader protection for communities by establishing “community immunity.”
  • Vaccines have minimized or eliminated outbreaks of certain diseases that were once lethal to large numbers of people. Because the bacteria and viruses that cause diseases still exist, vaccination rates need to remain high enough to prevent outbreaks.
The schedule and catching up
  • Immunizing your child with vaccines protects against serious diseases like measles, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, influenza, and more.
  • Most vaccines received in childhood require two or more doses for the best protection. Your provider should notify you when the next doses are due.
  • If your child misses some scheduled vaccine doses, it is not necessary to start the series over again. Simply resume the series where it left off as soon as possible, and consult the CDC recommended “catch up” schedule.
  • Your child may be denied entry to school or daycare if he/she does not have a complete and accurate vaccination record.
  • Combination vaccines protect your child against more than one disease with a single shot. They reduce the number of shots and office visits your child would need, which not only saves you time and money, but also is easier on your child.

Answer seven quick questions to learn which vaccines your child may need

Adolescence
  • Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases: meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections; HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV; Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough; and a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.
  • Some infections that are prevented by preteen vaccines, like HPV, can lead to serious health problems later in life. Over 34,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year.
How vaccines work
  • Vaccinations protect you and your child against serious diseases by stimulating the immune system to create antibodies against certain bacteria or viruses.

For more, see the CDC's eight-part video series on How Vaccines Work

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