But instead of monkey cages and chicken coops in the labs of today’s vaccine manufacturers, you will find clean rooms with large scale, stainless steel bioreactors, master cell banks, seed fermenters, microcarriers, centrifuges, filtration and chromatography equipment, and filling and lyophilization equipment.
That doesn’t sound so scary or shocking, does it?
What’s shocking about the whole process of making a vaccine?
It takes a long time. Often one to three years! And that’s after all of the time that went into the research, testing, and licensing of the vaccine.
“Viruses are grown in cells, which can be either primary cells, such as chicken fbroblasts (e.g., yellow fever vaccine), or continuous cell lines, such as MRC-5 (e.g., hepatitis A vaccine). Bacterial pathogens are grown in bioreactors using medium developed to optimize the yield of the antigen while maintaining its integrity. Recombinant proteins can be manufactured in bacteria, yeast, or cell culture. ”
Plotkin’s Vaccines (Seventh Edition)
The only other shocking thing about making vaccines is how boring it all is, at least if you aren’t into biology, with most vaccines using the same basic steps:
decide on the type of antigen – vaccines can be made of attenuated live viruses, inactivated viruses or bacteria, or just part of the virus or bacteria (subunit and conjugate vaccines)
generate an antigen – this is the thing in the vaccine that will stimulate an immune response and protect your child. It used to be what anti-vaccine folks were concerned about until we explained that kids today are exposed to far fewer antigens, even though they get more vaccines and more protection.
release and isolate the antigen – the antigen was either growing in cells or other medium and in this step, as much of the antigen is collected as possible.
purify the antigen – multiple steps are involved in removing many of the vaccine ingredients or excipients that were used up to this step by precipitation, ultrafiltration, and column chromatography, etc. That’s why many are said to remain only in residual amounts, like formaldehyde.
strengthen the antigen – in this step, an adjuvant might be added.
last steps – finished vaccine is put in vials and syringes and then packaged
lot release and distribution – each lot is tested before it is released to make sure it meets FDA standards for potency, safety, and sterility.
None of that sounds as scary as injecting monkeys with smallpox, watching them die, and then harvesting their infected kidney cells though, does it? If you have watched any of the anti-vaccine scare videos, hopefully the first thing that came to mind is that the smallpox vaccine isn’t actually made with the smallpox virus! It is, of course, made with vaccinia virus and wouldn’t cause anyone, whether a monkey, cow, or person to actually get smallpox. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, monkeys aren’t used to make smallpox vaccines.
“Both vaccines are derived from the New York City Board of Health strain of vaccinia, but Dryvax was grown on the skin of calves and then essentially freeze-dried for storage. It was licensed by FDA in 1931 but is no longer manufactured. ACAM2000, a “second generation” smallpox vaccine, is derived from a clone of Dryvax, purified, and produced using modern cell culture technology.”
FDA on ACAM2000 (Smallpox Vaccine) Questions and Answers
In fact, most of today’s vaccines are made in bioreactors, not in cows or monkeys.
Flu vaccine is mostly still made using chicken eggs, specifically 11-day-old embryonated chicken eggs. The flu viruses are passed into the eggs, incubated for a time to allow them to grow, and then harvested, inactivated, and purified.
How purified do they get? So purified that even people with egg allergies can get a flu vaccine these days.
“Vaccines protect the health of children and adults and save lives. They prevent life – threatening diseases, including forms of cancer. Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are one of the most significant medical innovations of our time.”
More than 350 medical, professional and advocacy organizations in a 2017 letter to President Trump
It is the hundreds of thousands of experts at every major health organization around the world!
American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists, has long advocated for the health and safety of our children.
“Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives.
Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease. Vaccines keep communities healthy, and protect some of the most vulnerable in our society, including the elderly, and children who are too young to be vaccinated or have compromised immune systems.”
Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President and Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/Executive Vice President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Vaccine friendly pediatricians who are pushing non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedules are leaving kids at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
AAP on Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
Vaccines are necessary.
“Because rare medically recognized contraindications for specific individuals to receive specific vaccines exist, legitimate medical exemptions to immunization requirements are important to observe. However, nonmedical exemptions to immunization requirements are problematic because of medical, public health, and ethical reasons and create unnecessary risk to both individual people and communities.”
AAP on Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance
Society of Pediatric Nurses
“Immunizations are safe and effective in promoting health and preventing disease.”
SPN Position Statement on Immunizations
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Established in 1973, with more than 8,500 members, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the professional association for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and all pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
“NAPNAP supports the prioritization of immunization education for parents, guardians and other caregivers of infants, children, and adolescents. This education must include the most current scientific evidence related to vaccine safety, risk, benefits and current resources available to ensure that parents and caregivers receive adequate information about immunizations. This includes, when necessary, relaying the risk of not immunizing their child and potential devastation that can occur when a child is infected with a vaccine-preventable disease. It is incumbent that a PNP also be aware of misinformation in the public domain and provides the correct information to the public as well as the health care community.”
NAPNAP Position Statement on Immunizations
American College of Preventive Medicine
“Vaccine-preventable diseases were a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States in the 20th century. With the advent of immunizations, there have been dramatic rates of decline in these diseases. Clinical studies have shown vaccines to be efficacious and cost effective. ”
ACPM on Childhood Immunizations
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Founded in 1951, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) represents more than 58,000 members.
“Health care providers and patients should be aware that the reassuring safety data for use of the aforementioned vaccines in pregnancy are compelling, and there is no link to vaccine administration and miscarriage. An added benefit to immunizing during pregnancy is the potential for disease prevention in newborns by way of passive antibody transfer to the fetus. Hence, offering pregnant patients influenza and Tdap vaccines is an avenue to protect newborn infants at a critically vulnerable time and before neonates can be vaccinated.”
ACOG on Immunization for Pregnant Women
American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association was founded in 1872, the APHA represents over 25,000 public health professionals.
“And further noting that the Institute of Medicine has recently released a report10 describing the U.S. immunization system as “a national treasure that is too often taken for granted” and calling for substantial increases in federal and state allocation of funds to support immunization infrastructure; therefore
Reaffirms its support for immunization as one of the most cost-effective means of preventing infectious diseases;”
APHA on The Need for Continued and Strengthened Support for Immunization Programs
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association, which was founded in 1847, has just over 240,000 members.
“The AMA fully supports the overwhelming body of evidence and rigorous scientific process used by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices which demonstrate vaccines are among the most effective and safest interventions to both prevent individual illness and protect the health of the public.”
William E. Kobler, MD, member of the AMA Board of Trustees.
Immune Deficiency Foundation
“The development of immunizations for common bacterial and viral infections has represented a major advance in the battle against microbial organisms that constantly threaten the welfare of humankind and particularly the pediatric population. However, the alarming increase in nonimmunized persons could lead to a return of the epidemics seen in the past.
…critical need for maintenance of herd immunity in the population at large. It is particularly important for family members of patients with defective T and B lymphocyte–mediated immunity to receive all of the available standard immunizations (excluding live poliovirus).”
Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation on Recommendations for live viral and bacterial vaccines in immunodeficient patients and their close contacts
American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA), founded in 1896, represents “the interests of the nation’s 3.6 million registered nurses.”
“To protect the health of the public, all individuals should be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases according to the best and most current evidence outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). All health care personnel (HCP), including registered nurses (RNs), should be vaccinated according to current recommendations for immunization of HCP by the CDC and Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
As stated in the Code of Ethics for Nurses (ANA, 2015, p. 19), RNs have an ethical responsibility to “model the same health maintenance and health promotion measures that they teach and research…,” which includes immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
ANA Position Statement on Immunizations
Autism Science Foundation
“Multiple studies have been completed which investigated the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in relation to autism. Researchers have also studied thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, to see if it had any relation to autism. The results of studies are very clear; the data show no relationship between vaccines and autism.”
The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) is the largest professional association of immunologists in the world, representing more than 7,600 basic and clinical immunologists.
“Recent outbreaks have brought increased attention to vaccine- preventable diseases and have highlighted the need for robust and timely immunization to reduce preventable sicknesses and deaths. AAI strongly urges full adherence to recommended vaccination schedules and views vaccines as efficacious for individuals and crucial to public health.
Research has repeatedly confirmed that vaccinations are safe and highly effective for all healthy children and adults, and any suggestions to the contrary have been discredited. Ongoing vaccine research continually reaffirms its safety and efficacy, including the number of vaccines administered at any one time and the recommended vaccination schedule.”
The American Association of Immunologists Statement on Vaccines
American Osteopathic Association
“The American Osteopathic Association supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its efforts to achieve a high compliance rate among infants, children and adults by encouraging osteopathic physicians to immunize patients of all ages when appropriate ; supports the HHS National Vaccine Implementation Plan; and encourages third- party payers to reimburse for vaccines and their administration.”
AOA on Immunizations
National Association of School Nurses
#TodaysSchoolNurse is “grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders who bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential.”
“It is the position of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) that immunizations are essential to primary prevention of disease from infancy through adulthood.
The school nurse is well-poised to create awareness and influence action to increase the uptake of mandated and recommended immunizations. The school nurse should use evidence-based immunization strategies, such as school-located vaccination clinics, reminders about vaccine schedules, state immunization information systems (IIS), strong vaccination recommendations, and vaccine education for students, staff, and families.”
NASN Immunizations Policy Statement
American Academy of Family Practice
“With the exception of policies which allow for refusal due to a documented allergy or medical contraindication, the AAFP does not support immunization exemption policies.”
AAFP Immunization Policy Statement
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is a professional organization with over 7,000 members, including allergists/ immunologists, in the United States and 73 other countries.
“Immunization is perhaps the greatest public health achievement of all time, having significantly reduced the morbidity and mortality of many infectious diseases. Routine immunization of children, adolescents, and adults provides substantial protection from a large number of infectious diseases…
Patients who have experienced adverse reactions to vaccines might unnecessarily be advised to avoid subsequent immunization, which could have important adverse personal and population health consequences. Although there are some adverse reactions to vaccines that constitute absolute contraindications to administration of future doses, most such reactions do not preclude subsequent immunization. Patients who have experienced an apparent allergic or other serious adverse reaction after receiving a vaccine warrant evaluation by an allergist/immunologist. Also, patients with preexisting health conditions that might predispose to adverse reactions to vaccines could benefit from such an evaluation. In most cases, a risk-benefit analysis will favor subsequent immunization.”
AAAAI Practice Paramater on Adverse Reactions to Vaccines
CJ First Candle
“There seems to be a common misconception that vaccines are somehow associated with SIDS deaths. This is not true! Experts warn that the risk of leaving your baby unprotected is 1,000 times greater than any increased risk for SIDS. Because infants receive many immunizations during the critical development period from two to six months of age, and 90 percent of SIDS deaths occur within this time frame, it is only logical that many SIDS victims have recently received vaccines. This does not mean that the immunization had anything to do with the infant’s subsequent sudden and unexpected death. The cause and effect of immunizations and SIDS has been comprehensively studied for more than two decades. In fact, in countries where immunization schedules are different from those in the United States, the peak incidence of SIDS is still between two to four months.”
CJ First Candle on Immunizations
Infectious Disease Society of America
Founded in 1963, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), with over 9,000 members, represents physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases.
“The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recognizes the great benefits that vaccines provide for the public health. Substantial scientific evidence demonstrates vaccines’ enormous value in protecting individuals and populations from serious and life-threatening infections. Scientific evidence also demonstrates the overall safety of vaccines. Communities are most effectively protected when all are immunized.
Studies demonstrate that the easier it is to receive an exemption, the higher the rate of exemptions in a particular state. As the number of exemptions increases, the risk of vaccine – preventable disease increases. Therefore, states must make every effort to minimize the number of its citizens exempted from immunization mandates. Such exemptions make the state legislatures who grant them, as well as the individuals who receive them, responsible for placing the remaining state population at greater risk of acquiring potentially fatal infections.”
IDSA Policy Statement on State Immunization Mandates
The Arc of the United States
“Prior to widespread immunization in the United States, infectious diseases killed or disabled thousands of children each year. The near elimination of intellectual disability due to measles encephalitis, congenital rubella syndrome, and Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis or Hib can be contributed to vaccines.”
The Arc Facts About Childhood Immunizations
American College Health Association
“The American College Health Association (ACHA) strongly supports the use of vaccines to protect the health of our individual students and our campus communities. In recognition of the vital role that vaccine coverage plays in community immunity (herd immunity), ACHA discourages use of nonmedical exemptions to required vaccines.”
ACHA on Immunization Recommendations for College Students
What to Know About Expert Statements on Vaccines
Over the years, hundreds of organizations representing millions of families, health care providers, researchers, patients, and consumers, have repeatedly expressed their unequivocal support for vaccines, because they understand that vaccines work and that they are safe and necessary.
Whether you are on the fence or just have a few questions, instead of feeling lucky that Google will lead you to trusted information, start your research about vaccines on the following websites. They are the most reliable and trusted sources of immunization information you will find.
Your pediatrician should also be a good resource for questions about vaccines.
Evaluating Vaccine Websites
Be skeptical if looking elsewhere.
Some general questions experts recommend asking, and which will certainly help when visiting a website about vaccines, include:
Who runs the Web site?
Who pays for the Web site?
What is the Web site’s purpose?
What is the original source of the Web site’s information?
How does the Web site document the evidence supporting its information?
Who reviewed the information before the owner posted it on the Web site?
How current is the information on the Web site?
How does the Web site owner choose links to other sites?
Fortunately, anti-vaccine websites are fairly easy to spot.
They are often filled with vaccine injury stories and articles about how vaccines are filled with poison (they aren’t), don’t really work (they do), and aren’t even needed (they certainly are).
Tragically, their pseudo-scientific arguments can sometimes be persuasive, especially if you don’t understand that they are mostly the same old arguments that the anti-vaccine movement has been using for over 200 years to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
What to Know About the Best Vaccine Websites
With current information, a clear purpose (informing users, not selling supplements in an online store), and authors who are well-respected, our collection of the best vaccine websites can help you get educated about vaccines from a trusted source.
Then there are the myths about fast-tracking, and that important steps are skipped when a vaccine is on fast track for FDA approval, or that the whole vaccine testing and development process happens very quickly.
Vaccine Testing and Development Timeline
The vaccine development process is anything but quick.
“Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement.”
The History of Vaccines on Vaccine Development, Testing, and Regulation
During this time of the exploratory and pre-clinical stage research and then phase 1,2, and 3 trails, vaccines are:
Fast tracking does speed the process up, but not because any of the testing is skipped. The researchers just get more frequent meetings and communication with the FDA and “Eligibility for Accelerated Approval and Priority Review, if relevant criteria are met.”
“Vaccine development is a complex multidisciplinary activity, combining understanding of host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level, with clinical science, population-level epidemiology and the biomechanical requirements of production.”
Anthony L. Cunningham, et al on Vaccine development: From concept to early clinical testing
Testing doesn’t stop once a vaccine is approved by the FDA and is added to the immunization schedule either. We often continue to see testing for vaccine safety and efficacy using phase 4 trials and with our post-licensure vaccine safety system, including VAERS and the Vaccine Safety Datalink.
And of course testing continues long after we begin using vaccines to see how long their protection will last. For example, because of continued testing, we now know that Gardasil and Cervarix are providing protection that lasts at least 8 and 9 years.
What To Know About Vaccine Testing and Development
From pre-clinical studies and years of phase 1, 2, and 3 trials to continued monitoring after a vaccine is approved and added to the immunization schedule, the vaccine testing and development process helps make sure that vaccines are safe and that they work.
And even after a vaccine is added to the immunization schedule and it is given together with other vaccines, our post-licensure vaccine safety monitoring systems, from VAERS to the Vaccine Safety Datalink, kick in to make sure that they are indeed safe and effective.
The Myth That Vaccines Aren’t Tested Together
If it is clear that vaccines are in fact tested together, then why do some folks still believe that they aren’t?
Hopefully everyone sees the irony in Dr. Bob saying something about vaccines being untested, as he is infamous for pushing his own made up and completely untested alternative vaccine schedule.
“Babies get as many as 6 or 7 vaccines altogether…and the CDC is admitting that they don’t always research them that way.”
Dr. Bob Sears on Fox & Friends Vaccines: A Bad Combination?
When did they admit that???
“We’ve researched the flu vaccine in great detail and it seems safe when it’s given alone, but the CDC has never researched the flu vaccine when you give it in conjunction with all the other infant shots…and that’s what we’re worried about. ”
Dr. Bob Sears on Fox & Friends Vaccines: A Bad Combination?
So, what about the flu vaccine?
While most kids get their flu vaccine by itself, just before the beginning of flu season, some might get it when they see their pediatrician for a regular checkup, at the same time they are due for other vaccines.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Bob was wrong, and several studies have shown that the flu vaccine can be safely given with other vaccines.
And don’t forget, any problems with co-administration of vaccines would show up in post-licensure vaccine safety testing.
That’s how a very small increased risk of febrile seizures was found during the 2010-11 flu season in toddlers who received either DTaP or Prevnar and a flu shot at the same time.
The very small extra risk doesn’t mean that you still can’t get the vaccines at the same time if your child needs them all though. Remember that febrile seizures “are temporary and do not cause any lasting damage.”
It will be even more reassuring to some parents that another study “examined risk of febrile seizures (FS) after trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) during the 2010-2011 influenza season, adjusted for concomitant diphtheria tetanus acellular pertussis-containing vaccines (DTaP)” and found no extra risk for febrile seizures.
“Vaccines can generally be co-administered (i.e. more than one vaccine given at different sites during the same visit). Recommendations that explicitly endorse co-administration are indicated in the table, however, lack of an explicit co-administration recommendation does not imply that the vaccine cannot be co-administered; further, there are no recommendations against co-administration.”
Summary of WHO Position Papers – Recommendations for Routine Immunization
Also remember that “there are no recommendations against co-administration of vaccines,” unless of course, you are getting your advice from Bob Sears…
What To Know About Vaccines Being Tested Together
Vaccines are thoroughly tested for both safety and efficacy and they are also tested in many of the different combinations on the routine childhood immunization schedule.
don’t vaccinate your kids – risking a deadly disease because they are unvaccinated or the possibility that someone will come and force you to get them vaccinated
How do you figure out the truth to help you make the right decision for your family?
The Truth Behind Your Vaccine Decision
Most parents vaccinate their kids on time and on schedule.
Do they all have a hard time making their decision?
They understand the risks their children face if they aren’t vaccinated.
“When a well-meaning parent like Jenny McCarthy blames vaccines for her child’s autism, placing the fear of God into every parent who has a baby, it’s not only irresponsible – it’s dangerous. Why? It’s simple math: vaccines are less effective when large numbers of parents opt out. And the more who opt out, the less protected ALL our children are.
Celebrity books come and go . . . but the anxiety they create lives on in pediatricians’ offices across the country. A small, but growing number of parents are even lying about their religious beliefs to avoid having their children vaccinated, thanks in part to the media hysteria created by this book.”
Most importantly, parents who choose to vaccinate their kids don’t believe the myths and conspiracy theories that might lead them to skip or delay any recommended vaccines.
“If you see a turtle sitting on top of a fence post, it didn’t get there by accident.”
President Bill Clinton
Ironically, the anti-vaccine “experts” and websites that scare some parents often talk about choice and informed consent.
Understand though, that by exaggerating the risks of vaccines and vaccine injury (no, vaccines are not full of toxins), playing down the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases (no, they are not mild diseases that should be thought of as a rite of passage), and ignoring the benefits of vaccines (yes, vaccines do work), they are violating the basic tenets of informed consent themselves.
And that limits your ability to make the right choice for your family.
Making the Right Decision About Vaccines
There is nothing wrong with asking questions and being skeptical about the answers you get.
With all of the things you see and hear about vaccines, there is nothing wrong with being a little scared and wanting to do more research, instead of blindly following the advice of your pediatrician.
But remember that if you are going to be skeptical and are not going to blindly follow the advice of someone you know and maybe trust, then don’t blindly believe everything you read on the Internet that says vaccines are bad.
“My husband and I agreed we would just not have our new baby vaccinated until she was at least 1 year old, which seemed like enough time to continue looking for information. Also, we were not concerned that she was at risk of contracting any serious childhood illnesses.
We were wrong.
A week before our baby girl’s first birthday, she was feverish and listless. When she refused to nurse for 24 hours, I took her to see our pediatrician. She was hurriedly admitted to intensive care with the diagnosis of spinal meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae, type B, which is a vaccine-preventable disease.”
Suzanne Walther on A Parent’s Decision on Immunization: Making the Right Choice
Suzanne Walther discovered that “it is easy for parents to be misinformed. It is a real challenge to be well informed.”
What questions did she want answers to?
Are vaccines really effective at preventing diseases? – Yes, although they aren’t 100% effective, vaccines do work well at preventing and controlling 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases on our childhood immunization schedule. And yes, vaccines did help eliminate smallpox and herd immunity is real.
How are vaccines made? – Vaccines are made in a multi-step process that begins with generating the antigens that will go in the vaccine and then moves to releasing and isolating the antigen from the growth medium, purifying the antigen, strengthening and stabilizing the vaccine, and then combining it all into the final vaccine. Unlike videos you may have seen on the Internet, there is nothing scary about this very scientific process.
Are they tested for safety? – Vaccines are extensively tested in Phase I, II, and III trials before they are approved and added to the immunization schedule. This entire vaccine development process may take as long as 10 to 15 years.
Suzanne Walther learned about vaccines the hard way – after her infant contracted Hib meningitis, a vaccine-preventable disease. She also discovered that you can sometimes delay or wait too long to vaccinate your child.
What will you do to be well informed and to make sure you are making the right choice?
What to Know If You Are on the Fence About Vaccines
It is easy to be misinformed about vaccines, especially if you are on the fence and aren’t sure what to do. Get educated and and be sure you are making the right decision for your family.
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: