NHM Health Focus: National Immunization Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the value of immunizations to individuals and to their communities. Each year vaccines protect millions of adults and children from diseases that often cause discomfort, pain, and, depending on the disease, disability or death.
More than 200 years ago Edward Jenner vaccinated a young boy for small pox. Other vaccines followed: rabies (1885), bubonic plague (1897), diptheria (1923), tetanus (1927), polio (1955 and 1962) and more. Current recommended childhood immunization schedules published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list more than a dozen diseases for which vaccination is recommended.This has not been a hasty process. To take smallpox as one historical example, smallpox vaccination became compulsory in the United Kingdom in 1853. More than 100 years later, in 1967, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a worldwide vaccination program. Twelve years later, in 1979, smallpox was eradicated.
"In spite of the well-documented benefits of vaccines, they tend to be undervalued by the American public. The reality is that the vast majority of our citizens have not directly experienced the diseases that vaccines are designed to prevent." Dr. Mike Magee, Health Politics
Before vaccines, parents in the United States could expect that every year the following would happen:
Your Child's Immunizations, in the parent section of the KidsHealth web site, provides more information including: a brief description of each disease, an immunization schedule, reasons to receive the vaccine, possible risks and reasons to delay the immunization, care of child after the vaccination, and when to call the doctor.
Immunization information for adults is posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to immunity and immunization: