This year, we celebrate the 17th annual National Immunization Awareness Month.
History of National Immunization Awareness Month
The National Partnership for Immunization first designated August as National Immunization Awareness Month in 2001.
“NIAM was officially announced to the media and the immunization community with a kickoff event at the National Press Club on August 1, 2001. Key stakeholders, including maternal and child health professionals, immunization advocates and policymakers participated in a press conference and reception in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the initiation of this yearly event.”
In addition to giving awards to a few members of Congress, the TV show ER got a media award at the first National Immunization Awareness Month because the show “portrayed the importance of vaccinations using the story of an unvaccinated child who was sent to the emergency room and subsequently died from measles. The episode effectively relayed the important messages that measles still occurs in this country, that the disease can be deadly and that it can be prevented by immunization.”
In 2006, the CDC “took over” National Immunization Awareness Month, continuing NPI’s campaign focused around the theme, “Are You Up to Date? Vaccinate!”
Unfortunately, the CDC didn’t really sponsor the month. They just recognized that it was happening on their website…
“While CDC does not sponsor this month, CDC does support and encourage the efforts of state and local health departments and other immunization partners to celebrate NIAM and use this month to promote back to school immunizations, remind college students to catch up immunizations before they move into dormitories, and remind everyone that the influenza season is only a few months away. It’s a great reminder to our nation that people of all ages require timely immunization to protect their health.”
It wasn’t until 2013 that National Immunization Awareness Month really came back.
That’s when the National Public Health Information Coalition started coordinating NIAM activities, including key messages, sample media materials, social media content, and event ideas to:
- Encourage parents of young children to get recommended immunizations by age two
- Help parents make sure older children, preteens, and teens have received all recommended vaccines by the time they go back to school
- Remind college students to catch up on immunizations before they move into dormitories
- Educate adults, including healthcare workers, about vaccines and boosters they may need
- Educate pregnant women about getting vaccinated to protect newborns from diseases like whooping cough (pertussis)
- Remind everyone that the next flu season is only a few months away
In 2014, NIAM began to also focus on a different stage of the lifespan each week, from infants, children and teens to pregnant women and adults.
National Immunization Awareness Month 2017
What’s going on in #NIAM17?
In addition to adding a ‘Back to School’ category for school age children that lasts throughout the month to make sure kids are ready for school, NAIM17 continues with different themes each week:
Babies and Young Children: A healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations. (July 31-August 6)
- Pregnant Women: Protect yourself and pass protection on to your baby. (August 7-13)
- Adults: Vaccines are not just for kids. (August 14-20)
- Preteens/Teens: Ensure a healthy future with vaccines. (August 21-27)
Are your kids up-to-date?
National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to get educated about vaccines and learn that:
- Vaccines protect against serious diseases.
- These diseases still exist and outbreaks do occur.
- Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.
- Vaccines are very safe.
It’s also a good time to learn how to avoid getting scared by anti-vaccine talking points and the misinformation pushed by the anti-vaccine movement.
What To Know About National Immunization Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to learn why vaccinating and protecting your family is an important and safe decision.
More About National Immunization Awareness Month
- CDC – Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
- National Immunization Awareness Month
- CDC – For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children
- AAP – Immunizations
- ACOG – Immunization for Women
- Immunization Action Coalition
- Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Shot of Prevention
- Shot by Shot