Immunization awareness graphic

With cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially measles, increasing recently, it is crucial that everyone, especially parents, know how to protect themselves and their children.

National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the importance of vaccinations for people of all ages and raises awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases across their lifespan, starting with newborns.

Vaccines use very small amounts of antigens to help a child’s immune system recognize and learn to fight serious diseases.

Adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. They are also at risk for different diseases as an adult. All adults need influenza (flu) vaccine every year and Td or Tdap vaccine (whooping cough).

Adults may need other vaccines based on age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits.

Vaccines are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Certain diseases can be very serious for the mother and her developing baby during pregnancy. Getting vaccines during pregnancy can help protect both mother and baby and provide the newborn with some early disease protection.

Pregnant women should get a flu vaccine and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap).

An OB-GYN, midwife or other healthcare professional may recommend other vaccines either before, during or after pregnancy.

For more information the Centers for Disease Control publishes materials to educate families about vaccine preventable diseases and the vaccines developed to prevent them.

The materials include information from the most recent resources and information possible. In addition, the CDC, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics develops immunization schedules from birth to age 18 and from age 19 and up. Visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

Bradford-Tioga Head Start, Inc. offers programs for pregnant mothers, families and their children, newborn up to the age of 5. For more information call 570-638-1400, visit www.bradfordtiogahs.org or find it on Facebook.