National Immunization Awareness Month

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of routine vaccination for people of all ages. 

Vaccination is critically important and one of the best tools we have to prevent disease and severe illness. Widespread immunization has led to the eradication of smallpox worldwide, the elimination of polio in the United States, and the prevention of debilitating and sometimes deadly infectious diseases like measles.

Got Shots?

To make it easier to get kids vaccinated before heading back to school, NM Department of Health and its partners are hosting  Got Shots? events across the state. Participating clinics and medical practices will be providing no cost back-to-school immunizations until August 31, for all children aged 18 and younger regardless of whether they are a patient or have insurance. Some host clinics during evening hours and weekends to accommodate parents’ busy schedules. 

Adults who want to get their vaccinations can go to their regular medical provider and some DOH public health offices also provide immunizations for adults. Uninsured adults can find locations to get vaccinated using the link below. Most locations offer the flu vaccine and many of them offer other important adult vaccinations such as Hepatitis B and MMR (Measels, Mumps and Rubella). 

To know which vaccinations you or your child have already received, visit New Mexico’s View Vax website (link below) or call 1-833-882-6454, hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F, closed 12 to 1 p.m. for lunch, customers may also leave a voicemail and receive a call back. 

You need vaccines throughout your life

Adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You are also at risk for different diseases as an adult. Vaccination is one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.

All adults need:

You may need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. Learn more about what other vaccines may be recommended for you and talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you.

Why is it so important to get regular immunizations, especially for children?

Diseases like polio or measles are rare today because generations of people have been immunized against them. But outbreaks do still occur all over the world and with so many people able to travel frequently, exposure can happen.

Getting immunized protects you and those around you by limiting the spread of disease. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely a major outbreak will occur. Immunization is key to creating herd immunity!

Vaccination is much safer than trying to develop natural immunity from a disease because some diseases can have lasting, damaging effects on your body—which can be completely avoided by getting vaccinated instead!

How do vaccines protect us?

Vaccines help our immune systems fight infection faster and more effectively. Vaccines are made of very small amounts of weak or dead germs, so they won’t make you sick. Some people can experience mild side effects from some vaccines, such as soreness at the injection site, but these dissipate quickly. When you get a vaccine, it sparks your immune response, and trains your body to recognize disease-causing germs and fight them off if they ever invade your body.

How do we know that vaccines are safe?

Before a new vaccine is ever considered for approval by the FDA, pre-clinical and clinical studies are conducted to determine safety, effectiveness, and dosing. Vaccine trials have to involve even more participants than standard drug clinical trials because vaccines are intended for the entire population. Once a vaccine reaches the FDA approval phase, it is again evaluated for safety, effectiveness, and consistency of batch purity and potency.

Video Transcript: Hi, I’m Julie Mirpori and I’m an immunologist and physician scientist. It is National Immunization Awareness month and the American Association of Immunologists wants you and your children to get regular vaccines to stay healthy and safe.

Getting vaccinated not only protects you but it actually protects those around you and in fact getting a vaccine is even more effective than getting natural immunity because when you get a regular infection you may have those side effects and long lasting consequences of getting infected but when you get a vaccine you completely avoid those long lasting consequences of getting the natural infection and it gets you protected.

Science of getting a vaccine: The science of getting a vaccine is actually pretty amazing when you get immunized what happens is your body thinks that that is the natural germ and your body gets activated and white blood cells and antibodies get stimulated and produced so that the next time if you get infected with the real germ your body can recognize it and completely avoid the infection or you’ll only have very mild symptoms of the actual infection.

How do we know immunizations are safe: There’s a very robust system to make sure that the vaccines that you’re getting safe in fact before a vaccine is even considered for FDA approval there are multiple clinical trials that are conducted to determine that it’s safe it’s effective and the dose is just right. In fact vaccine trials have even more participants than clinical trials that test specific drugs because they are intended for the entire population.

Get your vaccines, get your children their vaccines, and stay safe.

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