In the United States, the month of August is dedicated to building awareness around vaccination. The National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. It was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them.
In other regions of the Americas, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) generally uses a week called Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) to highlight the importance of vaccination as a key public health intervention aimed at preventing the spread of vaccine preventable diseases.
In 2002, prompted by a measles outbreak in Venezuela and Colombia, the health ministers of countries in the Andean region proposed a coordinated international vaccination effort to help prevent future outbreaks. Since the first celebration of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) in 2003, hundreds of millions of individuals of all ages have been vaccinated against a wide range of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, rubella, yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and influenza, through activities conducted under the framework of the initiative.
Vaccines have been one of the most significant scientific discoveries to date and have helped to reduce death and other complications from infectious diseases especially among children.
As parents, it is your ethical and societal obligation to protect the health of your children. It is important that they are vaccinated against these diseases. Ensure that their vaccination cards are up to date. Having them immunized not only helps to protect them but it protects others by creating herd immunity.
Vaccination is not only for children. Ensure that you also have all your vaccines. Now is a good time to locate your card and visit your health care provider to make sure that it is up to date.
Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and government regulatory bodies to make sure they are safe.
Organizations such as the American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Canters for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization all strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccinations.
Dr Rosmond Adams, MD is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with training in bioethics and ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research. He is a lecturer of medical ethics.
He is the Head of Health Information, Communicable Disease and Emergency Response at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He is also a member of the World Health Organization Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.
(The views expressed here are not written on behalf of CARPHA nor the WHO). You may contact him at [email protected]