National Immunization Awareness Month
National Immunization Awareness Month—sometimes referred to as immunization month—is observed throughout the month of August each year in the United States. This is a time to raise awareness and educate people on the benefits that getting immunized offers. It also serves as a reminder for individuals to stay up to date on their immunizations and schedule them if they’ve fallen behind.
While immunizations are a fairly standard part of our lives, not everyone takes them seriously or believes in their effectiveness. That’s why it’s crucial to educate and spread awareness about the usefulness of immunizations, and National Immunization Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity to do just that. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what immunizations are, discuss their effectiveness, highlight the most common immunizations, and more.
What Are Immunizations?
Immunization is the process of your body becoming protected against a disease or illness. This is most commonly done by receiving a vaccine, so immunization and vaccination both refer to getting protected against an illness or disease.
There are different methods of immunization, including injections—more commonly called shots—pills, nasal sprays, and liquids. In addition to these various methods of immunization, there are also different types of vaccines. These include:
- Inactivated vaccines
- Live-attenuated vaccines
- Toxoid vaccines
- Viral vector vaccines
- Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines
- Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines
How a vaccine works to immunize your body differs depending on the particular type of vaccine. For instance, an mRNA vaccine instructs the cells in your body to build a protein of the specific germ, while live-attenuated vaccines deliver a weakened form of the germ into your body. Regardless of the specific type, all vaccines immunize your body by sparking a response from your immune system. This helps your body stay protected against that specific germ and fight off any infections.
How Effective Are Immunizations?
The efficacy of immunizations depends on the specific vaccine that is used and the method of delivery. However, all vaccines that are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proven their effectiveness in protecting people from particular germs or bacteria. In order for a vaccine to be approved by the FDA, it must go through a long process that involves research and development, pre-clinical testing, clinical testing/trials, and more. In order to be approved, vaccines generally need to have an efficacy rate of 50% or higher. For example, if a vaccine has an efficacy rate of 70%, then that means that individuals who receive that vaccine are at a 70% lower risk of developing that particular illness or disease.
What Are Some of the Most Important Immunizations?
If the medical community has developed a vaccine for a certain disease or illness, that means that the disease or illness is most likely severe. Because of this, all immunizations that are available to you are important. You should find your immunization records and consult with your healthcare provider about your immunization history and your current health situation to determine what is best for you. With that being said, there are several key immunizations that are required for things like attending school, while others are needed to travel to certain areas around the world. There are also a few others that are strongly recommended, but not required.
There is also a certain immunization schedule recommended for individuals throughout their lives, starting when they are born, through their childhood, and into adulthood. Staying up to date with these immunizations helps to protect your body and keep you healthy. Some of the most important immunizations include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Some vaccines are combined so they can be administered at the same time. This is especially useful for newborns and children since their bodies and immune systems are still growing and developing.
At MyAlly Health, we understand the importance of immunizations and offer several vaccinations at our clinic, including HPV, hepatitis A and B, influenza, meningococcal disease, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated, reach out to us today!
Additionally, we offer annual examinations, like physicals, wellness examinations, and mental health screenings to promote your overall health. You can also receive examinations like Pap smears to test for cervical cancer, and Gardasil vaccinations to protect you from HPV infections.
MyAlly Health offers confidential reproductive health services to women and men in the Grand Forks, North Dakota area, regardless of income or age. This includes preventive care, like getting tested for STIs, breast examinations, and pelvic examinations; determining the best birth control for you; and even getting vaccinated against the flu. The clinical services we provide are all performed by Nurse Practitioners and Resident Physicians.
In order to empower and engage individuals in their well-being and reproductive health, MyAlly Health offers education, counseling, advocacy, and healthcare services. Find out more about what we do, help make a difference by donating to our cause, or schedule an appointment with us today!