August is National Immunization Awareness Month

niam-preteensBefore August comes to an end, we wanted to share that it is National Immunization Awareness Month.

Today, most children in the United States are healthier than they once were and parents are less stressed about infections during childhood. Part of the reason is because of immunizations. Routine childhood immunizations are an amazing achievement in public health.

A 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study estimated that childhood vaccination programs have prevented 103.1 million cases of diphtheria, hepatitis A, measles, mumps, pertussis, polio and rubella since 1924. A 2005 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine study estimated that for every dollar spent in the United States, vaccination programs saved more than $5 in direct costs and approximately $11 in additional costs to society.

Even with this good news though, challenges are present. Outbreaks of pertussis, measles, Hib, and other vaccine preventable diseases are returning. Numerous factors including the cost of obtaining and administering vaccines, as well as a small but growing number of parents who are against vaccination for their children may be causing the outbreaks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long supported preventive care, including immunizations. The AAP believes that economic barriers should not restrict access to immunizations or other forms of preventive care for children. They work to educate the public and key decision-makers about the importance of routine child immunization, and they actively counter misinformation about vaccine safety.

Now that we are approaching the back to school season, the APA’s program known as Healthy Children has an article about back to school immunizations.