August is #NationalImmunizationAwarenessMonth

September brings a flurry of new activity, from going back to school settling into extracurricular activities. Participation in public school and many publicly sanctioned activities, such as municipal sports leagues, requires up-to-date immunizations. Many careers also require that adults keep up-to-date with their vaccinations. To help make the public aware of the importance of vaccinations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared August National Immunization Awareness Month. Here’s what you need to know about vaccinations and your family’s health.

Follow American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Immunizations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established a list of recommended vaccinations by the time a child reaches age 2, which has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Getting all the shots in order and within the recommended time frame helps protect children from serious diseases that can lead to life-threatening complications or death. Receiving essential shots by the age of 2 will help protect against dangerous conditions like the measles, whooping cough, Hepatitis A and B, HiB, and more.

Some parents, confused by misinformation on the internet, are wary of vaccines and try to find a “middle ground” by putting their children on a “delayed immunization schedule”. Public health officials caution against this approach, as it does not optimally protect children against the diseases from which they are most vulnerable. Robust research supports the recommended schedule for your child’s vaccinations:

  • A 2018 study from Michigan Medicine found that 50% of preschoolers are afraid of doctor’s visits, and 1 in 25 parents delay vaccinations because of a child’s fear of their healthcare provider. A delayed immunization schedule, which usually involves 1 or 2 vaccinations at a time, requires monthly doctor’s visits. Such schedules could actually increase your child’s fear of visiting a doctor and decrease compliance.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a research panel to study the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines and published one of the most comprehensive reviews of the literature to date. They found the current schedule to be safe and effective. A more recent study, following a cohort of more than 500,000 children, found that there was no statistically significant increase in non-targeted infections after receiving recommended childhood vaccinations, represented by emergency department visits in the following 24 months.

Adults Need Vaccinations, Too

Much of the public education and advocacy surrounding vaccination involves children, but it’s important to note that adults may need vaccinations, too. For example:

  • Adults and children over six months should receive a flu shot each year to protect against the most common strains of the influenza virus and prevent serious complications.
  • Adults over the age of 50 should get a shingles shot to protect against the herpes zoster virus.
  • Adults should continue to receive Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) boosters every 10 years.
  • Adult immunity to disease can fade over time, even if you were vaccinated as a child. It’s a good idea to ask for titers and see what immunity you have to preventable diseases. For many working adults, such as those in the healthcare or direct service industry, immunity is required to continue employment. Michigan Urgent Care providers can help keep your vaccinations up to date through our Occupational Health Program – visit our walk in clinic for immediate care or reserve your appointment time online.

Vaccinations are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, for both adults and children. Michigan Urgent Care offers flu shots on a walk-in basis as soon as they become available, starting in September. We also offer occupational health and school-required immunizations such as Hepatitis B and Tdap. Reserve your appointment time at any of our clinics today!