National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance that highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. In August, parents are enrolling children in school, older students are entering college and adults and the health care community are preparing for the upcoming flu season.
This makes August a particularly good time to focus community attention on the value of immunization. Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that once routinely killed or harmed tens of thousands of infants, children and adults. Maintaining high immunization rates protects the entire community by interrupting the transmission of disease-causing bacteria or viruses.
This reduces the risk that unimmunized people will be exposed to disease-causing agents. This type of protection is known as community or herd immunity and embodies the concept that protecting the majority with safe, effective vaccines also protects those who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.