STATE — August is National Immunization Awareness Month which serves as a reminder to parents to make sure their children’s immunizations are up-to-date before students return to child care, preschool and school.
“Because of the success of vaccines in preventing disease in the United States, parents are often unaware their children are still at risk for many serious and life-threatening diseases,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “Parents should check with their physicians and other health care providers to see what vaccines their children need.”
Vaccine-preventable diseases such as varicella (chickenpox), measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria can result in hospitalizations and even premature death.
Recently, New Jersey and the nation have seen increases in the vaccine-preventable disease pertussis (whooping cough). By ensuring that both children and adults are immunized, we can greatly limit the spread of this illness that can be fatal in young children if not properly treated.
The goal of National Immunization Awareness Month is to increase awareness about the need for immunizations for infants, school-age children, college-bound students, adults and elderly.
“Immunizations are not just for infants, adults need vaccinations to stay healthy, too,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito.
College students living in dormitories need meningococcal vaccine, and young adults should get HPV vaccine if they haven’t already been immunized. Older adults may need tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis, shingles, or pneumococcal vaccine. Adults need other immunizations too, depending on age, vaccination history, medical conditions, high-risk exposures, or type and location of travel. Check with your health care provider on what vaccinations you may need based on your individual situation.
All of the vaccines required for child care, preschool, school and college in New Jersey are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
More information about immunization requirements is available through the department’s website at www.state.nj.us/health/cd/imm.shtml. Information about vaccines and recommended schedules is available through the CDC website www.cdc.gov/vaccines .
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